$245,000 Grant Awarded to Children and Families Programs
Volunteers of America North Louisiana’s children and families programs, The LightHouse and partnership with Communities In Schools, secures a $245,000 grant from the Community Foundation of North Louisiana and United Way of Northwest Louisiana.
Since 1989, Volunteers of America North Louisiana has been providing academic support, family services, and cultural experiences to children and their families through the LightHouse program. The program operates during out-of-school hours and in the summer providing students and families with academic support and wrap around services with the goal of improving academic performance.
During the 2014-2015 school year, the LightHouse program expanded its services via a new collaboration with Communities In Schools (CIS). CIS is a national organization serving 1.25 million students in over 27 states. It brings necessary, data-based services to students at their school to address academic and nonacademic barriers to learning and has a record of tremendous success providing a wide variety of supportive services with the goal of removing all barriers to education.
According to U.S. Census Bureau, there are over 25,000 children living in poverty in Caddo and Bossier Parishes. The Louisiana Department of Education reports that in 2014-2015, 73% of students were eligible for the free/reduced lunch program in Caddo Parish. In addition, Louisiana has some of the country’s highest rates of children in poverty and teen pregnancy. The CIS and LightHouse programs address the issues facing low-income children who are falling behind academically. Volunteers of America North Louisiana estimates 3,728 children will benefit from the two programs and services in the 2016-17 academic year.
Over the years, the generous support of the two agencies has impacted the lives of thousands in our community. The United Way of Northwest Louisiana has invested over $1.6 million and The Community Foundation of North Louisiana has invested $4.2 million in Volunteers of America North Louisiana’s programs, primarily the LightHouse.
This year’s award breakdown is $30,000 from the United Way of Northwest Louisiana and $215,000 allocated from the Travis White Fund, the Annie Lowe Stiles Fund, and the Gloria and Lane Sartor Fund at the Community Foundation of North Louisiana. The majority of the funds came from the Travis White Fund. Laura Ashley Overdyke shares, “Businessman Travis White was thought of as a great financial mind and his talents in business were matched by his commitment to civic duty.”
On behalf of the thousands of children who will benefit, Chuck Meehan, President/CEO, graciously accepted the donation at the annual Volunteers of America North Louisiana’s Board of Director’s meeting. “Your investment and generous contribution will help us better serve those who find their way to us.”