Children's Services Foundation of SWFL makes first grants to help fill service gaps

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FORT MYERS, Fla. - eTradeWire -- The Children's Services Foundation of SWFL (CSF of SWFL) presented awards grants of $2,500 each to support Guadalupe Center's Early Childhood Education Program, The Heights Center's Beyond the Bell program and The Quality Life Center's ACE After School Program.

Guadalupe Center's Early Childhood Education Program provides educational and enrichment opportunities for more than 300 children in Immokalee. Children are encouraged to explore and grow, working in small groups and participating in many hands-on and interactive lessons. Instruction focuses on building a foundation of academic skills that will be needed in kindergarten such as letters, numbers and colors, as well as physical, emotional, linguistic, aesthetic and cognitive growth. The program aims at whole child development and well-being.

"We are grateful for support like this that ensures our Program remains strong," Guadalupe Center President Dawn Montecalvo said. "We are very proud of the fact that 95% of our students entering kindergarten meet or exceed the kindergarten measures and have that strong foundation to be successful in elementary school and beyond."

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The Heights Center's Beyond the Bell program provides support, remediation and academic enrichment opportunities for K-8 youth facing learning challenges as a result of poverty, limited English proficiency and limited access to educational resources. This program supports academic achievement, encourages creativity and builds community. It helps students maintain and accelerate their mastery of core academic skills to increase their likelihood of school success and reduce the frequency of grade retention.

"Grant monies will be used to provide enrichment opportunities in science, art and music to children who typically don't have access to such activities," said Deb Mathinos, Director of Education at The Heights Center.

The Quality Life Center's ACE (Arts, Character & Education) program is an after-school and summer camp program targeting at-risk children and youth ages 5 to 18. The program includes engaging educational projects to help students become academically competitive, arts to build confidence, discipline and resilience, and consistent character development. The program helps youth overcome their environment and reach their goals.

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"This funding comes at an opportune time," said QLC Executive Director Abdul'Haq Muhammed. "We are completing construction on our new wing, and this grant will provide the means to serve additional children."

"We're looking forward to making a real difference in the lives of our children and families through grants for things like early learning programs, after school programs, literacy development, social and emotional development, healthy children and families, and violence prevention programs," explained CSF of SWFL Board Member Ed Kleinow.

For more information, go to SWFLKids.org or contact the CSF of SWFL at SWFLKids@gmail.com.

Source: CSF of SWFL
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