United Way funding kids at camp

Published 1:52 pm Tuesday, March 17, 2015

LAPLACE — Children in St. John the Baptist Parish, no matter their economic background, deserve a chance to enjoy summer fun through enrichment programs.

That is the motivation, officials said, behind St. John United Way’s approximate $3,500 enrichment funding effort.

United Way Community Impact Manager John Olynick said the St. John umbrella organization is offering micro-grants for summer programs to help disadvantaged children attend these programs in St. John Parish.

The United Way is making this effort, because members realize the financial needs and struggles in this area and have provided a solution by offering organizations funding towards affordable, safe, educational and recreational summer youth activities, Olynick said.

The organizations granted money by the United Way would use to the funds to offer scholarships or camperships to youth who could not otherwise afford to participate.

This is St. John United Way’s first year to offer grants designated for community enrichment programs. The funds were set aside last year when members agreed there was a need in the parish.

“We have given funds before in years past to the Catholic Charities enrichment fund, but this program is now ceased,” Olynick said. “The St. John United Way would like to continue funding enrichment programs that benefit the youth in the community.”

St John United Way will be accepting applications for funding for the 2015-through April 15. Grants are being awarded with an emphasis of reaching the largest amount of children with opportunities during the summer. The funding is specifically restricted to children that reside in St. John Parish.

The goal of summer enrichment programs is to produce a learning environment that may challenge individuals and give students the advantage of obtaining educational skills that many will use for a lifetime, United Way officials said.

“Our goal is to try to help as many kids in this area as possible,” Olynick said.

“St. John United Way plans to continue this funding based on the success of this year.”

There will be special considerations for funding for programs that support STEM education. STEM education is the matters of scientific, technical, engineering, mathematics and literacy verses extracurricular actives.

Organizations interested in applying for a grant should contact Olynick at atjolynick@stjohnunitedway.org or write to St. John United Way, PO Box 2019, Reserve, LA 70084.