Enhancing Simon Youth Academies: One Grant at a Time
Each year, Simon Youth Foundation provides enhancement grants to our Simon Youth Academies that allow the schools to buy new supplies, create new programs, or enhance programs already in place. The academies rely on these grants each year to improve overall student experience.
For the first time this year, academies were able to use the results of the Center for Effective Philanthropy’s (CEP) YouthTruth survey (http://syf.org/students-give-simon-youth-academies-high-marks/) to inform their grant application. In 2015, Simon Youth Academy students completed the CEP YouthTruth survey as a way to report the students’ satisfaction with our grant program. While our academies partnerships performed well, there was room for improvement in mental health awareness and peer-to-peer relationships sections. Simon Youth Rose Tree Media Academy, located in Media, Pennsylvania, is an example of one partner utilizing the grant to address these issues.
Many high school students deal with large amounts of anxiety or stress while working toward their diploma. In order to ease these feelings as much as possible, the Academy will begin providing the students with mental health mindfulness workshops. During these sessions, students can learn the importance of understanding mental health and how to better deal with anxious or stressful situations. The academy hopes for higher attendance rates and happier students as a result of these sessions.
In order to emphasize unity between students, the Academy hopes to participate in teambuilding activities with the help of a Simon Youth Foundation Enhancement Grant. This portion of the grant will fund a workshop at The University of Pennsylvania, where students will learn the value of working as a team. These skills are important for students, especially those who plan to continue their education after high school.
Also using funds from this grant, the school hopes to help students find their passion and appreciation for the arts through an enrichment program at Community Arts Center. Students enjoyed working with a local artist in previous years, which is why this program is important to this academy in 2016.
All of these programs will be beneficial to students, which exemplifies the importance that these grants have, not only on the Simon Youth Academies and their students, but also on the communities that they reside in.
Although Simon Youth Foundation provides funds used for improvements for the academies, it is imperative that the surrounding communities get involved and help improve the academies as well.
Earlier this year, Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees, Delaware County Chapter awarded a grant to Simon Youth Rose Tree Media Academy. This grant was provided to the academy to make the school “feel like home” by displaying art around the school. With the help of other community organizations, the academies can improve each year and continue to better the lives of the students at Simon Youth Academies.
Community involvement is important for the success of our students. To get involved in a community near you, please visit syf.org.