INDIANAPOLIS - As summer break approaches, city leaders are teaming up with various youth agencies to make sure kids have an alternative to being on the streets this summer.
More then $75,000 in federal grant money will help keep about 1,200 Marion County kids off the streets this summer.
The money comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The local Department of Metropolitan Development will distribute the majority of the money to about a dozen local youth organizations.
"Typically they are lower-income families. They are qualified by their income and typically by their area is a lower-income area. Oftentimes I believe there's a waitlist. But of course with funds being limited as they are, they can only help so many. So they never have difficulty finding people to fill these slots," said Evan Tester, block grant manager with the Department of Metropolitan Development.
The John H. Boner Community Center will get about $7,000 of those federal funds for summer youth programs.
"Of course 46201 is kind of a high-crime area. So it's really important for us to keep kids active and keep them engaged in something really positive for the summer break," said Brittany Kronmiller, director of youth programs at John H. Boner Community Center.
The programs focus on physical fitness, academics, character building and even help find jobs for older teens.
Leaders said they have tracked significant academic gains through numbers, but they've also seen the results through relationships and behavior.
"A lot of them are really able to start making those more positive choices and mention that they are interested in making more healthy life choices because of the program or something they've picked up on at our program," Kronmiller said. "And really, with all of our summer camp programs, that's the most important thing. We're providing kids a safe, structured place to go. They're not just sitting home, wasting time or getting into risky behaviors. They're able to come somewhere where they're spending time with peers, positive adult role models and just having a great summer."
The 11 award recipients are:
Christamore House, Inc.: $6,000.00 for Christamore House Summer Camp. 75 youth will participate in a six-week program that provides students ages 3-14 with opportunities to learn while having fun.
Community Alliance of the Far Eastside, Inc. (CAFE): $6,960.00 for a summer camp. 105 youth will take part in CAFE's summer program. The camp participants are divided into 5 classrooms by age so that academic enrichment can be more effectively provided.
Concord Center Association Inc: $6,960.00 Concord Summer Youth Development Program. 130 youth will participate in a summer day camp which is comprised of three elements: academic enrichment, health and fitness, and character development.
Edna Martin Christian Center: $6,960.00 Leadership and Legacy Summer Program. Sixty five (65) students primarily in grades pre-K-8 will be provided opportunities to strengthen academic and social skills through a rigorous battery of academic, recreational and character development activities.
Fay Biccard Glick Center at Crooked Creek: $6,960.00 Crooked Creek Cares Summer Program. 85 youth will partake in a summer program that provides programming for children ages 3-13. The program is structured to offer a wide range of learning and enrichment activities that promote the academic, physical, emotional and social development of all children and youth.
Flanner House of Indianapolis Inc.: $6,960.00 Flanner House Summer Camp. 80 youth will participate in a summer camp that will focus on five areas: Reading, Math, Creative Thinking, Health & Fitness and Nature/ Environment. The campers will take part in educational classes and activities in these five areas.
Forest Manor Multi-Service Center: $6,960.00 FMMSC Summer Camp. 175 youth in grades K-8 will participate in a nine week day camp geared toward helping the at-risk and under-served youth population who live in the Forest Manor community on the eastside of Indianapolis. The summer day camp promotes activities through programming focused on educational enrichment and life skills development as well as on discouraging youth from crime involvement and victimization.
Hawthorne Social Service Association, Inc.: $6,960.00 Hawthorne Summer Day Camp. 200 youth will participate in Hawthorne's summer program. Each day begins and ends with 2.5 hours of organized recreation and social enrichment programming during which youth are combined into a general population.
La Plaza, Inc.: $6,960.00 Leadership Institute for Latino Youth. 60 youth will be a part of La Plaza’s Leadership for Latino Youth program, which addresses the high dropout rate and low post-secondary education enrollment rate in Central Indiana’s Latino community. The program allows students to receive academic support, explore college and careers, gain confidence and leadership skills, engage in community service and
create a cohort of mentors and peers with an ongoing common goal all while increasing their academic skills.
Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center: $6,960.00 Make a Difference Through Fitness, Health, and Service. 180 youth will be provided with opportunities for summer learning, fun and exploration. The program focuses on reading, math, writing and critical thinking activities to help prevent summer learning loss and practice mastery of skills.
The John H. Boner Community Center: $6,960.00 Excellence, Discovery and Growth through Education (EDGE) Summer Programs. 95 youth in grades 1-9 will participate in a 6 week learning opportunity on the near eastside of Indianapolis. Based on their age, youth are separated into 2 camp locations that share the same purpose and goals.