Dover – Governor Jack Markell, and Lt. Governor Matt Denn joined officials from the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families (DSCYF/The Children’s Dept.) to announce the names of 13 organizations that are receiving funding for targeted after school programming. They made the announcement at South Dover Elementary School, one of the sites selected. The initiative to support positive prevention activities for youth was part of Governor Jack Markell’s FY 14 Budget proposal. In his State of the State in January, he specifically called for more opportunities for “after-school and summer activities that get kids off the streets and give them exposure to the arts, nature, and physical activity.” The General Assembly supported his budget request with $2.2 million as part of DSCYF’s budget for after school programs this session.
“Children engaged in positive activities outside of the classroom do better in school, at home, and in society,” said Governor Markell. “These initiatives reduce drop-out rates, reduce depression, improve self-control and self-esteem, and prevent risky behaviors such as drug and alcohol use and juvenile crime. I’m pleased that my administration has been able to work with the General Assembly to give our community partners, non-profit organizations, and schools additional resources to help our children grow and thrive.”
Schools and other organizations were permitted to apply for up to $20,000 in short term funding that must be used by the end of December. An RFP for larger funding amounts was issued at the end of August. The deadline to respond to the RFP, which is linked to the Children’s Department home page (www.kids.delaware.gov) has been extended to Thursday, September 26th.
Programs selected for the initial round of funding cover a wide range of activities including anti-bullying, violence and suicide prevention, arts, theatre, skill and character building, health & fitness, tutoring, music, recreation, and more.
“These programs are addressing the overall well-being of children,” said Lt. Governor Matt Denn. “They focus not only on their academic needs, but on their social, emotional and mental health needs as well. We’re taking a well-rounded approach to supporting our youth. ”
The selected program recipients will enter into contracts the Children’s Department’s Division of Prevention and Behavioral Health Services. Four of the recipients are in Kent, four are in NcCo, and one is in Sussex County. One program will operate in sites in both Kent and Sussex, and three more will operate in both Kent and NcCo. This initiative is partly an outgrowth of the initial recommendations by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the 2012 adolescent suicides in Kent County which pointed to a lack of after-school activities for youth in Kent and Sussex Counties.
“These after school programs will help to address the needs of children in all three Delaware counties. We want to make sure that children statewide have the opportunity to participate in positive activities that some would not otherwise get to experience,” said DSYCF Secretary Jennifer Ranji.
The funding recipients are: Cab Calloway School of the Arts, Courageous Hearts Equine, Dover High School, Delaware State University, Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay, Inner City Cultural League, Jewish Family Services, Milford Boys & Girls Club, PAL of Delaware, PS DuPont Middle School, South Dover Elementary, and University of Delaware 4H at McLane Gardens in Smyrna and Knollwood Community Center in Claymont.
South Dover Elementary will use the funds to support two of its after school programs: the Kiva Anti-Bullying program and Girls on The Run, which is a national program aimed at building the self-esteem of young girls through physical fitness. At today’s announcement, state officials, local legislators and Capital School District officials got to see the 12 young ladies who are participating in both programs practicing their skills. For Girls on the Run, the young ladies are working up to a 5K walk/run to be held in Milford.
South Dover Elementary School Principal Michelle Duke says funding opportunities for after school programs are important as state and federal money is usually reserved for academic programs, and private grant opportunities are disappearing.
“While we hold high academic standards for our students, we also recognize that their physical and social/emotional development has a direct connection to their academic success. In addition, the social/emotional health and self-image these young girls possess is very important to their success in life. I am extremely proud of the team of South Dover teachers who wrote the grant and are committed to building healthy relationships with these girls and modeling healthy habits.”
The Children’s Department provides services to children who have been abused, neglected, are dependent, have mental health or substance problems, have been adjudicated delinquent by the Courts, as well as prevention services targeted toward all youth. For more information, please visit www.kids.delaware.gov.