United Way launches grant opportunity for projects helping local students in academic transition

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — The United Way of the Wabash Valley announced a new grant opportunity was issued from their Youth Success Impact Council Thursday that aims to help students with difficult school transitions.

The Youth Success Council said its goal is to help local students “gain the knowledge, skills and character development to succeed in kindergarten through high school.” The group believes the most important step to ensuring this academic success is making sure students are in the classroom on time every day.

According to the United Way, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated attention and learning issues students were already experiencing, making a classroom setting all the more difficult to adjust to. At particular risk, the group says, are students who will be going through an educational transition, or any time a student changes a physical or virtual school, in the coming year.

The risks many students face when transitioning classrooms has prompted the Youth Success Council to develop a grant, the Successful Student Transitions Initiative, to focus on proposals in the community directly supporting students in a key educational transition. Challenges addressed by these proposals focus on include learning loss, social and emotional support and preparation for post-secondary life.

Projects submitting a grant proposal should focus on vulnerable students during a transitional stage of education and provide support to cut down on truancy and increase engagement. Funding can be awarded for up to three years, with a January to December project timeline.

“Transitions are a time of change; for better or worse,” Youth Success Impact Council member Liz Metzger said. “For low-performing K-12 students, the three major transition points – elementary school to middle school, middle school to high school and high school to post-secondary – can be a particularly difficult time. At each of these transition points students must leave a social structure they are familiar with and adapt to a new environment. The Successful Student Transitions Initiative will fund programs that provide a safety-net for the most vulnerable students to ensure they stay engaged in their learning and become successful students. Their ability to cope with these early transitions will benefit them throughout life.”

$300,000 in funding is available for this initiative over the next three years to assist large-scale transition projects. The Youth Success Council is inviting all groups in the six-county United Way service area of Vigo, Vermillion, Clay, Parke and Sullivan counties in Indiana and Clark County in Illinois to apply.

The deadline to submit a Letter of Intent is Sept. 15, with a required virtual meeting for all applying groups Aug. 30. For a full list of requirements and application details visit uwwv.org/funding.

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