Gerber Steps Up For West Michigan Kids
By N3 News Team
In keeping with their mission to enhance the lives of our children The Gerber Foundation recently made grants aimed at supporting the types of services known to improve the chances for young people to be successful adults.
The grants totaling $112,764 will help 18 organizations in West Michigan with their programs serving youth. The grants are primarily focused on early childhood services, mentoring, summer programming, and early literacy skills.
Several grants were made to various camps for...
summer camp scholarships, including the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Salvation Army, Rose Lake Youth Camp, Harbor Hospice, and Camp Henry. Additional summer program support went to Pathfinders in Muskegon Heights, the City of Newaygo Police Department for their summer safety programming, and a grant to the Newaygo County Prevention of Child Abuse agency to support activities in their summer programs.
Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the Lakeshore was provided with a grant to support a unique new program that will provide mentorship at local law enforcement or community services offices, such as local fire departments. Called the Hometown Hero’s site based program, children will be paired with their mentors at these service agencies
Finally, a grant was made to the Newaygo County Regional Educational Service Agency to support their early literacy initiative aimed at improving early childhood literacy skills in the county. Based on findings from a consortium of regional educators, the program will provide training in early literacy to many of our local educators so that they can more effectively work with children to improve reading skills. Studies have shown that children who are not reading proficiently at the end of the 3rd grade are likely to remain behind their peers in achievement, tend to be less likely to graduate from high school on time, have difficulty finding work and when doing so receive lower wages.
“Our goal with this grant,” noted Catherine Obits, program officer at the Gerber Foundation, “is to assure that all of Newaygo County’s children are reading proficiently by 3rd grade and have the skills to succeed in their lifetime.”