Local school districts to receive after school program grant funding

A student a Jewett Elementary School works on a project earlier this spring. A local non-profit organization is expanding its daily after school programing to 11 schools including four in the Cadillac area. One of the schools is the elementary in Mesick.

TRAVERSE CITY — A local non-profit organization is expanding its daily after-school programming to 11 schools, including four in the Cadillac area.

The Traverse City non-profit SEEDS was recently awarded new 21st Century Community Learning Center grants by the Michigan Department of Education.

The funds are to be used for daily after-school enrichment activities in partnership with schools in underserved areas.

The grant dollars allow for renewed funding for all the current after-school sites which includes Fife Lake Elementary, Forest Area Middle School and Jewett Elementary in Mesick. Programs will be added this fall at four additional schools including Marion Elementary School, which will bring the total to 11 after-school programs.

Other sites where the grant is being utilized include Rapid City Elementary, Kaleva Norman Dickson Elementary, Brethren Middle School, Betsie Valley Elementary, Cherry Street Intermediate and Benzie Central Middle School.

“It is so exciting to continue our existing community partnerships and also to expand this great programming to new communities,‘ SEEDS After School Program Director Nicole Heffelfinger said. “It’s an amazing opportunity to connect more youth with mentors and outdoor education.‘

SEEDS After School programming began in 2009 and focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics as well as getting students out-of-doors and active.

Students at grant sites have access to free programming four days per week and during the summer.

This past academic year, SEEDS served more than 350 unique students with nearly 30,000 hours of academic and cultural enrichment.

“We are deeply honored to partner with the administration, staff, and the parents at these schools,‘ SEEDS Executive Director Sarna Salzman said. “Investing in youth is an investment in the future — our collective future. A student’s success is a community success and organizationally we can think of no better response to the challenges we all face than providing quality educational opportunities.‘

SEEDS is a 501c3 nonprofit organization formed in 1999 to implement local solutions to global challenges at the intersection of ecology, education and community design. SEEDS’ goal is to foster healthy, vibrant communities filled with clean food, great kids and helpful neighbors.

Information about each current After School site can be found online at www.ecoseeds.org and clicking the “Teaching and Learning‘ link. More information about the new sites will be available in the fall.

rcharmoli@cadillacnews.com | 775-NEWS (6397)

Cadillac News