If you are growing up in an Eden Prairie family of lower income, it can be difficult to keep up with your peers. After all, family income helps determine whether you can afford after-school sports, swimming lessons, summer camp, driver education, enrichment classes, and more.
The Foundation is trying to “level the playing field” by funding the after-school activity scholarships provided by PROP, our community’s social-services organization. We call it the Youth Initiative. Over the last year alone, the Foundation has funded scholarships so that 112 youngsters from 55 households-in-need could afford these popular after-school activities. The average per-child scholarship was $72.
For example, a family new to Minnesota spoke to PROP, concerned about their high school son needing to take the ACT test in order to attend college – an exam they didn’t anticipate him needing. Through the Foundation’s partnership with PROP, and PROP’s partnership with Eden Prairie Schools’ Community Education, that family could afford the ACT test-preparation classes offered to their son.
The Youth Initiative was created by the Foundation in 2015 after meeting with community leaders and volunteers, and asking about unmet needs. Youth needs bubbled to the top of the list, especially the ability to afford after-school activities. After all, during the previous year, PROP had run out of after-school scholarship money in the third quarter.
The goal of the Youth Initiative is to raise dollars to support several existing community programs that benefit Eden Prairie youth – primarily the after-school activity scholarships provided by PROP and the Eden Prairie Police Department’s fifth-grade curriculum program known as CounterAct. Later, the Dr. Jean L. Harris Scholarships – which honors students’ outstanding performance in the areas of human rights and diversity – was folded into the initiative. These programs should never run short of dollars.
But none of this happens without support from you, the donors. Because of you, the Foundation’s Youth Initiative is making a difference. Thank you!