While necessary for child safety, many do not realize that transitioning to foster care is traumatic. In an instant, children are removed from their homes, their parents, their schools, their friends, and often, they are separated from their siblings. In many cases, they are alone, surrounded by strangers, and feel like they have lost everything.
The Sturgis Area Community Foundation was awarded a $70,000 grant from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund in support of expanding the Fresh Food Initiative throughout St. Joseph County. The Fresh Food Initiative currently provides fresh produce, dairy products, baked goods, and meat at six community locations throughout St. Joseph County.
This grant will provide funding for the second annual "Resilience for Youth" summer program which features five full days of learning, connecting, practicing and applying concepts aimed at reducing patterns of negative behavior and providing at-risk students with the knowledge and practice needed to increase motivation and personal resilience.
Funding for a community forum, including keynote speaker and discussion, focusing on sexual abuse and children, youth prevention, understanding sexual assault dynamics and local services available to victims.
This grant will fund interactive, educational booklets for Sturgis youth who visit the Museum at the Depot as part of an effort to make the museum more attractive to local educators. Booklets were designed in partnership with local educators who contributed to the content, design and layout.
Funding will provide program support for the Doyle Community Center's Summer Adventure Program. Summer Adventure provides area youth with eight full weeks of summer recreational activities at little to no cost. This grant will be used to expand summer field trips and provide supplemental supplies for activities.
This award will provide program support for the Sturgis Helping Hands backpack program to provide bags of food on weekends to Sturgis Public School students in need throughout the year. Approximately 2/3 of SPS students qualified for the program last school year.
St. Joseph County currently has nearly 200 children and youth placed in foster care due to extreme abuse and neglect, a rate that is double the state average. This grant will provide seed money for the start of a CASA program in St. Joseph County. CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) will train local volunteers to serve area children in foster care due to abuse and neglect. CASA volunteers work with one child or sibling group to make sure that their best interests are served and that they find a loving, safe home (or are reunited safely with family) as soon as possible.
(in partnership with Sturgis Public Schools)
This grant will fund the launch a partnership between Sturgis Public Schools and Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County to provide before- and after-school programming for Sturgis students in grades K-5. Feedback from SPS leadership and survey results from local families demonstrate a high need for affordable before- and after-school care options in Sturgis, especially among low-income and working families. Through this partnership, children and families will have access to Boys & Girls Clubs' KidsCare programming (https://www.greatfutures.club/kidscare), housed at Eastwood School, in the mornings starting at 5:00AM and after school until 6:00PM. SPS will provide transportation to school for morning participants and from school to the program for afternoon participants.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Michigan residents ages 15-34. In response to this epidemic, the Community Suicide Prevention Network of St. Joseph County is organizing programing in our county's public schools for suicide awareness and prevention programs. The total cost is $51,050. County superintendents have selected two programs to offer the schools based on their input and need. In addition to providing curriculum to area schools, this grant will also fund a county-wide series of school assemblies with an expert guest speaker and forum for parents.