The Bucks County COVID-19 Recovery Fund has distributed funds to assist school-aged kids experiencing homelessness navigate remote learning.
The United Way of Bucks County-led fund that was established in March recently awarded $9,450 to Valley Youth House, which shelters kids between the ages of 12 and 17 on an emergency basis, and $10,000 to Middletown Township-based Family Service Association of Bucks County, which assists homeless individuals and families, many with school-age children.Valley Youth House will use their funds to hire an “educational specialist to monitor and assist students with schoolwork and to ensure they are able to stay on track academically,” according to a press release.
“The educational specialist will be responsible for ensuring that youth have proper connectivity, assistance with homework, and the materials they need. Essentially this individual will provide the guidance that parents would ordinarily be required to offer if the student were living at home,” said Kathi Krablin, director of grants and foundations at Valley Youth House.
Family Service Association of Bucks County will create a learning lab with technology support and two teaching assistants with their grant.
“Schools are delaying in-person instruction and counting on parents to provide a quiet, safe learning environment with the support from a caring adult to effectively participate in virtual learning. This is very difficult for families living in shelters. The Learning Lab project is designed to reduce or remove the barriers to education that students living in the shelter will encounter,” said Marlene Piasecki of Family Service Association.
Additional grants were awarded to YMCA of Bucks County received funding to purchase a portable sink for their early education site at Chandler Hall, The Council of Southeastern Pennsylvania received funding to expand the hours of their drug and alcohol information line and recovery support chatroom, and Ivins Outreach Center was awarded two grants to deliver meals and groceries to vulnerable individuals and seniors in Lower Bucks County.
Since the fund started in March, 52 grants have been provided to local groups, totaling around $280,000.
More than 800 people have donated to the fund along with Penn Community Bank, Dow, BB&T (now Truist), Janssen, PECO, Foundations Community Partnership, Bucks County Foundation, Simon and Jane Hallett, Barra Foundation, Grundy Foundation, Fegley Law Firm, Shoprite of Hunterdon County, Vistra Energy, Wells Fargo, Bucks County Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc., 100+ Women Who Care Bucks County, Residents of Ann’s Choice , PNC Financial Services Group, The Albert W Bader Foundation, and the Newtown Business Association.
Donations for the fund are still being collected online or by mailing a check to United Way of Bucks County, 413 Hood Boulevard, Fairless Hills, PA 19030, with “COVID Recovery” in the memo line.
Editor’s Note: Publisher Tom Sofield is a member of the United Way of Bucks County Board of Directors.
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