Creating Positive Change Through Youth Development
Manchester, NH: (October 20, 2019) Lincoln Financial Foundation continues to aid the ongoing efforts to provide a strong and healthy foundation for Manchester’s inner city grade school students by awarding The Granite YMCA with a $25,000 grant in support of the START Program.
The YMCA’s START Program, operating five days a week, is an after school program serving low-income students from Henry Wilson and Beech Street Schools in Manchester. Curriculum includes two hours daily of academic tutoring, physical fitness, life skills, nutrition, community building, and teamwork. With eighty-nine percent of participants speaking a language other than English at home, START also helps families who need support understanding American culture and schools.
“We are so thankful to have Lincoln Financial as a long-time supporter and partner of The Granite YMCA,” said David Ports, President and CEO of The Granite YMCA. “With their support of our START Program—as well as other local partners—we are able to successfully provide a strong academic and personal foundation for youth and their families in a safe and supportive atmosphere.”
The Lincoln Financial Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Lincoln Financial Group, believes in empowering people to live greater lives, which advances culture and empowers greater positive change. This grant is part of Lincoln Financials’ annual $10 million investment in its local communities’ youth education, economic and workforce development, human well-being and arts programs.
The YMCA’s START program—along with its companion program STAY (which focuses on middle and junior high students)—is part of the YMCA’s Youth Opportunities Unlimited Program. The program provides support and mentorship for students and strives to reduce the dropout rate in Manchester, which has one of the highest dropout rates in the state. 100% of the families in the YMCA START program are defined by federal guidelines as extremely low, very low, and low economic status and live in close proximity to gang activity, crime, violence, drug activity, and even struggle with homelessness. With the support of generous donors, this program becomes a safe alternative where students can spend time learning and growing.
The Granite YMCA’s daily mission is focused on working with youth whose lives are complicated by a number of risk factors including poverty, exposure to violence, substance abuse, poor school performance, engagement in risk-taking behaviors, or significant social-emotional difficulties. The YMCA Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU) programs provide support to students who would otherwise fall through the cracks. Program Directors work with administrators, guidance counselors, teachers, and community agencies to coordinate services and assistance in addition to visiting classrooms during the day to monitor student progress for seamless transition. The YMCA staff also work to evaluate the needs of the communities and actively provide weekend/vacation meal bags for schools, supplemental food for families daily, clothing drives in the winter, access to community agencies, and YMCA family memberships through the summer to provide a safe place for youth and families when school is not in session.
“Now, more than ever is a critical time for our youth. The positive change and outcomes from the services provided through our Youth Opportunities Unlimited programs help to meet the community goal of raising healthy, confident, community caring children. Our programs ensure that our youth and families receive support and tools to learn, grow, and thrive.” concluded Mr. Ports.
About Lincoln Financial Foundation
The Lincoln Financial Foundation, established in 1962, is a nonprofit organization formed and supported by Lincoln Financial Group. Under the Foundation guidelines, grants are made in the areas of arts, education, human services and economic/workforce development. To learn more, please visit www.lfg.com