Tue, Jan 26, 2021
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Willapa Harbor Herald • Town Crier
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New COVID-19 relief funds to support nonprofits helping youth

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The Washington State Department of Commerce joins forces with School's Out Washington to fund nonprofits straining to provide after school and summer programs, mentoring and social-emotional supports.

The need for youth programs that provide learning, mentoring and social-emotional support to students and young adults has never been greater, but COVID-19 has significantly impacted the ability of many nonprofits to keep their doors open. The Washington State Department of Commerce is partnering with School's Out Washington to distribute approximately $9 million in state Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to respond to the impact of COVID-19 by supporting programs serving school age kids and young adults facing the most significant challenges to educational and economic opportunity.

Gov. Jay Inslee directed state CARES Act funds to the Department of Commerce to help with COVID-19 relief efforts across Washington. The agency has distributed more than $700 million in CARES funding in support of local governments, tribes, nonprofits, housing relief and business recovery.

Working with stakeholders and partnering with local organizations, School's Out Washington developed application criteria and will award grants between $10,000-$50,000, based on the organization's 2019 budget. Priority consideration will be given to programs that serve youth with lower access to educational opportunity and whose leaders are reflective of the populations they serve.

A call for reviewers from communities around the state is needed to evaluate proposals on a regional basis to make awards by November 2020.
Youth development includes three primary types of programs: 1) expanded learning opportunities (ELOs) such as afterschool and summer programs, 2) mentoring, and 3) wrap-around services that connect youth with social-emotional and non-academic supports integrated within a school setting. Youth development programs emphasize the importance of meeting young people where they are - physically, academically, socially and emotionally - to help them build the relationships, competencies, and confidence they need to reach their full potential.

These funds are separate from the grants announced last week by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) for organizations working with school districts to support school-based learning for the duration of this school year.

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