By: Lindy Anderson, Program Associate
PVF offers After School Program Grants to teachers who come up with new ideas for after school programs. PVF will award up to $2,500 to cover the costs of equipment, teacher time, and refreshments. Yesterday, I visited two program grantees at James Lick High School in San Jose.
First I visited the Newspaper Writing Club, where I met with Teresa Heger, who runs the club, and two of the students who work on the paper. Ms. Heger proudly showed me the copies of the papers they have printed this year with the funding we provided them. The students were really excited to share with me how much they enjoy working on the paper, and even took the time to show me a couple of the spreads they are working on for their final printing of the year.
The newspaper was started with funds from PVF last year – there hadn’t been a paper at James Lick since 1993. About 30 students take part in the writing of the paper, each given the opportunity to do whatever part of the process they would like. Students have put out five papers already this year, and are working on putting out another before the end of the year.
Speaking with Ms. Heger it was clear that the paper is more than a club to the students; it’s something that allows for an outlet not otherwise offered at James Lick. Many of the students who work on the paper don’t stand out in academics or sports, but thrive at the paper. She gave one example of a student who was painfully shy when he first started at the paper, but has since really come out of his shell. She then told me he was actually one of the students I met with yesterday, which was surprising because he was incredibly gracious and excited to talk with me about the paper.
Next, I visited the Comet Kickbox Club, run by Jeremy Bruce. The Club started last year with funding from PVF, and has grown tremendously since. Last year it started with 50 students, and now includes 80 members. Students meet twice a week to learn different techniques, practicing their moves on pads and mitts. This club does not allow any sparring, instead focuses on the fundamentals, strength building and exercise.
Students team up in pairs and take turns doing different combinations as directed by Mr. Bruce. I was impressed with how intensely the students practiced, but could also tell that they were enjoying themselves. There were students of all levels participating, and everyone was supportive of each other. This year the club has given two demonstration performances to the school during lunchtime.
From these visits I learned that the funding we provide to schools serves as support to both the students and the teachers. Both Ms. Heger and Mr. Bruce are shining examples of the teachers we strive to support – both have amazing relationships with the students and work tirelessly to support them. They go above and beyond what is expected of teachers, and we’re proud that we can provide them with a little additional support thanks to the generous funding from the Barkley Fund.