Having recently wrapped up its 5th year, PVF’s After School Grants Program was as successful as ever during the 2012-2013 school year. Within a four month period in fall, we awarded 41 grants totaling $92,000. These grants, which aim to expose students to recreation activities and the arts, were available to 6-12th grade public school teachers in the Oakland, Redwood City and East Palo Alto school districts, and the low-income and underperforming San Jose school districts of Alum Rock, Franklin-McKinley and East Side Union.
After school activities provide a unique form of learning outside of the classroom that is helpful to those who learn best through visual and movement-based teaching. These activities also provide a productive, engaging outlet for youth. The after school programs that received grants during the 2012-2013 school year varied widely: a speech and debate club cultivated confidence and critical thinking skills, a book club enhanced reading skills, a robotics club allowed for creative tinkering, and an international relations club promoted understanding of real-world issues.
Below are a few quotes from teachers that describe how the funding was utilized, and in turn speak to the importance of this program, which is generously funded each year by the Barkley Fund:
“Thank you for your generous donation to the 5th Element Hip-Hop Club and After School Program at Oakland High School this year. Your donation has helped over thirty students who share a love for hip-hop choreography, break dancing, and rap music. With the donation, we have been able to purchase costumes for the dancers’ performance, buy equipment for the recording studio, and put on a studio dedication event where students performed.” – Oakland High School in Oakland
“We received grants to put on three after-school clubs with 20 elementary students served by 5 teen mentors in each club. These clubs met weekly for 7-week sessions. Instead of a traditional chess club or Mathletes or Science club, twenty middle and high school youth were put into positions of responsibility, where they served as role models to elementary school students: they helped with homework, encouraged children, and learned what it could be like to be a teacher. The transformation could be seen in one day as youth would come in tired, disinterested, and sometimes edgy from spending all day at school; by the end of the club, they were energized, inspired, and motivated from doing something worthwhile to make a difference in somebody else’s life. Some of the phrases we have been hearing from weekly de-briefing sessions are: ‘It feels good to help these kids. I used to be just like them.’ ‘Being a part of this club has helped me with my family. My mom trusts me more and my little sisters and I get along better.’ With your support, things are getting better for youth in this little part of Oakland.” – Roosevelt, Claremont and Edna Brewer Middle Schools in Oakland
“Thank you for supporting our afterschool robotics team project. Due to your generous donation, we were able to provide the opportunity of an afterschool 6th– 8th grade robotics team for girls. The grant allowed the team of 8 students to meet twice weekly for 1.5 hours. They worked under the tutelage of a credentialed teacher, whose stipend was paid by the grant. The students were very enthusiastic to learn and experiment with robotics. We were especially excited that our team this year was comprised of girls. It was our goal to empower more girls to become involved in the robotics programs moving forward.” – North Star Academy in Redwood City
“Our International Relations Club attended three conferences this year–the Stanford Model United Nations Conference, the Regional High School Model United Nations conference in San Francisco, and the National High School Model United Nations conference in New York. These young students are debating issues that face us today and in the future. They are learning to think critically, to be aware and compassionate, and to express themselves in an articulate manner. Your grant made it possible to stretch our funds enough that we were able to do all three of these conferences at an affordable level for so many students. We are very thankful for you contribution and making these learning opportunities possible.” – Santa Teresa High School in San Jose