$250,000 Grant Awarded to Children and Families Programs
Volunteers of America North Louisiana’s children and families programs, The LightHouse and partnership with Communities In Schools, secures a $250,000 grant from the Community Foundation of North Louisiana and United Way of Northwest Louisiana.
Jennifer Steadman, Director of External Relations for the Community Foundation, presented the check at Volunteers of America’s annual Board of Directors meeting. “Congratulations to your staff for the valuable work you do and the outcomes you are accomplishing,” Steadman said. “Your support for at-risk children in pivotal in paving the way to the brighter future they all deserve.”
Since 1989, Volunteers of America North Louisiana has been providing academic support, family services, and cultural experiences to children and their families through the LightHouse program. The program operates during after school hours and in the summer providing students and families with academic support and wrap around services with the goal of improving academic performance.
During the 2014-2015 school year, the LightHouse program expanded its services via a new collaboration with Communities In Schools (CIS). CIS is a national organization serving 1.5 million students in 25 states and the District of Columbia. It is the nation’s largest and most effective organization dedicated to keeping kids in school and helping them succeed in life.
According to U.S. Census Bureau, there are over 25,000 children living in poverty in Caddo and Bossier Parishes. In addition, Louisiana has some of the country’s highest rates of children in poverty and teen pregnancy. The CIS and LightHouse programs address the issues facing low-income children who are falling behind academically giving each child an opportunity to graduate on time and be successful in life. In the 2016-17 academic year, Volunteers of America North Louisiana served over 3,500 children in need.
This year’s award breakdown is $40,000 from the United Way of Northwest Louisiana and $210,000 allocated from the Annie Lowe Stiles Trust, the Stiles Mineral Reserve, and the Gloria and Lane Sartor funds. Steadman shared, “When looking for an avenue to ensure their ideals would continue to be supported for generations to come, the Sartors turned to the Community Foundation to create their fund. They preferred that grants from their fund benefit organizations with which they were involved.” She added, “Among the highlights of Mrs. Sartor’s work with Volunteers of America was the creation of special needs adoption program for minority and disabled children.”
Volunteers of America North Louisiana’s relationship with the Community Foundation started more than 45 years ago – in 1971. Since that time, more than $4.8 million has been granted to support children and families in our communities. These two organizations are blessings to our community and those who find their way to us.