Over 175 community service leaders, non-profit organizations, and local governmental leaders attended the Foundations Community Partnership ( www.fcpartnership.org) “Partnership in Youth Services” luncheon ceremony held at the Doylestown Country Club in Doylestown. The event honored 12 non-profit community programs in Bucks County that are making a difference in the lives of local children and their families with monetary grants of $3,000 each.
The keynote speaker was Patrick McCarthy, president and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a private philanthropy organization dedicated to helping build better futures for disadvantaged children in the United States.
“Six thousand or so babies will be born in Bucks County this year,” noted McCarthy. ”Every single one of them is full of promise and potential and deserves a chance to succeed. If we are willing to do the hard work together – collectively – then we can see a future where not a single one of them is left behind. In five years, all of them would enter school ready and eager to learn. I am confident that the talented leaders in Bucks County can look to collective impact initiatives to ground their work in data and smart analytics to keep everyone engaged, have everyone own the goal and hold each other accountable for powerful contributions that can achieve positive outcomes.”
Foundations executive director Ron Bernstein, Bucks County Commissioner Diane Ellis-Marseglia and Amy Conte of the Foundations Board presented plaques and checks to the 12 local non-profit organizations. Among the community programs receiving grants were:
Peaceful Living - Creative Gifts (New Britain)
Peaceful Living will use the grant to develop a community recycling partnership program in the Central Bucks County community surrounding Creative Gifts Peace Valley location. Thirty participants will participate in this volunteer service program, providing recycling bins to local businesses, picking up recyclables and delivering them to the local recycling center. Participants will learn new vocational skills associated with recycling activities and gain a sense of accomplishment by helping their communities engage in recycling.
Bristol Riverside Theatre (Bristol)
The Bristol Riverside’s Theatre received a grant to support ArtRageous, a unique five-week program for at-risk youth in Bristol. ArtRageous stimulates critical and creative thinking in a structured environment. Serving 75 individuals, the program’s goals are to build basic life skills and increase self-esteem and self-efficacy through self-expression in a safe environment.
Bucks County Children’s Museum (New Hope)
The Bucks County Children’s Museum will use the grant to support educational field trips and “Exploration for All” open houses for 2,000 children across Bucks County. These educational programs provide developmentally appropriate experiences with a focus on multiple curriculum areas, for children pre-k through second grade, including those with autism.
Bucks County Playhouse Theater (New Hope)
The grant will support the Bucks County Playhouse’s GIRLSPEAK educational program for young women ages 13 to 18. The program provides a safe place for them to grapple with the issues that teenage girls face today, such as body image, bullying, media pressure, familial and peer relations, education and career aspirations through group discussions, improvisations and acting exercises. The program serves 300 participants.
Senior Adults for Greater Education (Bensalem)
Senior Adults for Greater Education (S.A.G.E.) will train and bring 15 -20 senior adult volunteers into the Bensalem School District to work with 500 academically at-risk students who need additional support to meet their academic goals. Senior volunteers will be trained in Understanding Today’s Schools, Mentoring and Tutoring Skill Development, Math and Language Tutoring Skills, and Supporting and Understanding Special Education Students.
Acting Naturally (Morrisville)
Acting Naturally’s “Acting Can Teach” program will use the grant to expand its theatre training to serve 30 at-risk youth from schools throughout Bucks County. The program offers a safe place for them to explore and learn the craft of acting and culminates in the production of a full show.
Lower Bucks YMCA (Fairless Hills)
Lower Bucks YMCA will use the grant to support its Special Abilities Fun and Fitness Program, which is designed to help children with special needs in grades 7 to 12 from the Council Rock School District and Access Services: Bucks Life. The eight-week program proves 20 individuals with individualized fitness instruction by a qualified special needs instructor and a trained fitness coach with monitoring from a behavioral specialist.
Artists in Residence (Bensalem)
The grant will help expose low-income students to the beautiful and therapeutic world of art. Two mosaic artists with work with the 500 students at Benjamin Rush Elementary School to create a custom mosaic mural to be permanently installed in the school. Each student will form a unique tile, brainstorm ideas for the final installation and work together to learn the art of problem solving and ceramics.
Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve (New Hope)
Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve will use the grant to recreate a Pocket Meadow in three to five Bucks County schoolyards. Participating schools will be given a diversity of native meadow plants that illustrate the connectedness of life. Education will include pollinators in peril and their important role to 85% of the world’s food crop series. Seed packets will be distributed to students to plant.
Snipes Farm and Education (Morrisville)
The grant will enable more homeless and low-income children to have access to Snipe’s inclusive summer farm day camp, which offers children the opportunity for recreation and interactive, academically stimulating activities during the summer months. Children learn through hands-on activities, tending animals, harvesting vegetables in the children’s garden, exploring forests and fields and making discoveries in the stream. The camp serves 130 children.
Tabor Children’s Services (Doylestown)
Tabor Children’s Services has been helping older youth transition out of the child welfare system and into the community since 2006. The grant will support Tabor’s scholarship project, which will offer ten eligible youth the opportunity to enroll in a post-secondary education program or certificate program, working towards completing post-secondary education goals and becoming self-sufficient community members.
Shamrock Reins (Pipersville)
Shamrock Reins provides equine therapy for veterans, service members and their families that assists with developing coping skills, improving communication, increasing socialization, improving family interaction, decreasing anxiety, assisting with grief, and improving physical function. Designed to decrease the symptoms of PTSD, programs include equine assisted learning and psychotherapy, horsemanship, equine ground activities and grooming. The grant will cover 50 program sessions serving 20 families.
The Morris M. Davis Award is an award and $1,500 scholarship given annually to a student intern whose contributions to the community are judged to be an outstanding example. The award was presented to Gabriella Riccardo from Churchville. She is studying psychology at Temple University and worked at Gilda’s Club through Foundations Community Partnership’s Summer Youth Corps.
“Foundations is proud to offer community grants for the 17th year in a row through our Partnership in Youth Services Program,” said Bernstein. “It is very rewarding to be able to support so many Bucks County non-profits that are fulfilling the health and human service needs of our young people and their families."
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