Women Giving for Spartanburg – 2011 Grants

Arts In MotionGlenn Springs Academy
Grant Award:  $ 35,000
Arts In Motion (AIM) is a program designed to strengthen the emotional well-being of adolescent boys who currently reside in a group home setting.  As children who have experienced abuse, neglect, or abandonment, at-risk youth benefit greatly from positive outlets focusing on the healing arts.  Through a partnership with multiple community organizations, participants will experience a weekly arts program and an equine-assisted therapy session.  Recent studies from the National Endowment of the Arts validate the importance of arts programs, like AIM, for at-risk youth.

Be Ready Fire Preparedness and Prevention for SeniorsAmerican Red Cross
Grant Award:  $ 25,000
The “Be Ready” Program is a new and creative approach to fire prevention and preparedness for at-risk, low-income senior citizens through the provision of 2,000 preparedness tote bags and the installation of smoke detectors.  The program will be a collaboration between four community organizations to: educate seniors about preventing home fires, develop fire escape plans, and practice home fire safety; give seniors the tools required to alert others to their needs during an emergency; and enable seniors to stay safe while evacuating their home in the event of a fire.  WGFS funds will be used for program supplies directly benefiting seniors.

Empowering IndependenceThe Charles Lea Center
Grant Award:  $ 35,000
Empowering Independence is a multi-faceted initiative to enable individuals with disabilities and special needs to live more productive, self-reliant lives.  A grant from WGFS will fund the renovation of existing space for a training apartment complete with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and laundry for teaching basic and independent living skills to special needs adults in a real-world environment.  The training apartment will be the largest and costliest element in a comprehensive life skills training center, which will include a mock retail, restaurant and banking space, a mock doctor’s office and a streetscape/crosswalk.

Hispanic Youth Mentor ProgramBig Brothers Big Sisters
Grant Award:  $ 25,000
Hispanic Youth Mentoring Outreach is designed as a structured one-to-one mentoring program for this underserved population group in Spartanburg County.  The Hispanic population in South Carolina grew by over 8% in the last census.  One of the largest growth areas was Spartanburg County.  However, mentoring and other youth services have not kept pace for Hispanic youth when compared to other ethnic groups.  Of 228 County youth mentored by the lead organization in 2010, only 2 were Hispanic.  School drops outs and other high risk youth behaviors continue to be Spartanburg County priority issues.  Research has shown mentoring is an effective strategy for combating high risk youth behaviors; this program will specifically target Spartanburg County’s growing Hispanic youth population.

Learning Center Program for the HomelessMiracle Hill Ministries
Grant Award:  $ 30,000
This program will provide a full-time instructor and literacy software for the learning center in a homeless shelter. The program will help the homeless residents in the shelter to overcome barriers to employment and enhance performance on the GED exam. Each year, nearly 200 Spartanburg County homeless residents could be helped by the center and well over 780 hours could be logged.  The program seeks to increase reading levels of 75%+ of the adult users requiring literacy improvement as measured by pre and post testing.  The instructor will coordinate a pool of volunteers that will be a key part of sustaining the program.

Teaching Toddlers and Their Mothers to Take Them to CollegeFamily Connections
Grant Award:  $ 47,000
This program includes all the supports that move people out of generational poverty by preparing high poverty at-risk teen mothers and their children for successful lives.  The major goals of the program focus on high school drop-out prevention, pregnancy prevention, intensive parenting education, high-quality child development for school readiness birth to 2, mentoring, psychological counseling, school transportation, social-emotional development, and home visits.  While a child is learning in a safe nurturing environment, the parent participants will be supported intensively so they complete high school.

Trains on the TrailPartners for Active Living
Grant Award:  $ 25,500
Trains on the Trail will create and install a permanent educational scavenger hunt on the Mary Black Foundation Rail Trail similar to the Mice on Main display in Greenville.  WGFS funds will be used for five small train sculptures, in addition to other program components including: signage displaying local historical facts and photographs related to the former railroad, podcasts or other audio files to provide an additional element of stimulation and low-cost rentable audio players. This program’s goal is to increase traffic on the trail and incorporates physical activity, education, history and art. A partnership with District 7 Schools will lead to development of curricula specific to Trains on the Trail, in the areas of physical activity, science and social studies.

Tyger River Play ParkSpartanburg Parks Commission
Grant Award:  $ 43,000
WGFS funds will be used to purchase equipment and construct a toddler playground on the new 9-acre environmentally-themed play park in the center of the 140-acre Tyger River Park complex. The complex will become Upstate South Carolina’s world-class baseball and softball tournament venue, providing twelve fields and seating for up to 600 people.  The play park will have four interactive, nature based play areas focusing on earth, wind, water and sun and will be open free of charge for the entire community to enjoy.  This play park will help complete a goal of providing a quality play park within 15 minutes of every resident in Spartanburg County.

Women BuildHabitat for Humanity
Grant Award:  $ 32,500
The Women Build program will do more than construct a home for a deserving low-income family.  The program will train hundreds of local women volunteers in construction skills and engage them in hands on construction experience, increasing their confidence and self esteem.  WGFS funds will be used towards the construction-by trained women- of a residence for a low-income, qualifying family who will pay for the home with a no-interest mortgage.  A neighborhood will be strengthened and the community will benefit as formerly unproductive property becomes an asset.