By Gary Nelson
The Cumberland County Joint Economic Development Board met in a special-called session last week and decided to award two $5,000 grants to two groups involved with youth in the county if the grant is received.
Jesse Kerley, Crossville city councilman, made a motion to apply for the 3-Star grant and award $5,000 to the Youth Achievement Foundation and $5,000 to the Cumberland County School System for the 2014-'15 school year.
According to Rich Soenen, chair of the Youth Achievement Foundation, which organizes JA in Cumberland County, the foundation provides opportunities for students to experience Junior Achievement and have increased significantly.
JA’s volunteer-delivered, kindergarten through 12th grade programs foster work-readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills, and use experiential learning to inspire students to dream big and reach their potential.
In 2009, about 175 students participated in JA classroom programs at Stone Elementary School. In the 2012-'13 school year, almost 1,000 students from 11 elementary and high schools experienced JA in the classroom or at Biztown. The costs of these programs are paid through donations and grants in the community. More than 100 volunteers from the community are used to support the program in 2013-'14 school year.
The group applied for $7,500.
Soenen said, "We are very appreciative of the 3-Star funds and the support of the Joint Economic and Community Development Board.”
He added that with the support of the 3-Star funds, YAF will be able to offer a significant increase in the programming in the school system.
The Cumberland County School System proposal was submitted by Tammy Stewart, director of coordinated school health, and applied for $10,000 grant in order to fight obesity among eighth-grade students in Cumberland County. The program will enroll approximately 500 eighth grade students in the 2014-'15 school year. The program will offer additional physical education opportunities that otherwise may not happen.
The program Stewart is recommending is the Active Today — Healthy Tomorrow program. The program would be offered at all elementary schools. The school administration and physical education teacher could choose between three different program options — morning fitness, extended P.E. time where eighth grade students would be scheduled an extra 20-40 minutes extra time, or an after school fitness time where eighth grade students could stay an extra 60 minutes after school two times per week.
Carmin Lynch, 9th District commissioner, supported Kerley's motion and it was unanimously approved.