Learning Recovery Highlights

Recent Learning Recovery Highlights

We were awarded the Idaho Community Program Grant in 2021 that quickly changed the lives of thousands of students.


Through the power of community and this grant, we have been able to support THOUSANDS of students in the 7-county service area we cover. While all of these children have a personal story that demonstrate our effort to address learning loss in our region, there are a few that truly stand out. The funding from this grant allowed us to help contribute to nine different afterschool programs, three different weekend food backpack programs servicing over 150 students, and three locations that support mental and emotional health.

Teton Valley Food Pantry has initiated the beginning of school pantries for their seven local schools. Clark County School District was able to start up their own afterschool program and quickly after launched a food backpack program for their students. The principal that started this weekend backpack program noticed that “one student reported extreme food scarcity before the winter break, 3 backpacks full of food were given to his father at school dismissal. A grateful father with tear-filled eyes was overjoyed.” When the principal tried talking with this father in her Spanish, she realized how much more help was needed for this family and coordinated within their local community to make sure this family had a happy Christmas celebration.

Thank you from school

Above and Beyond the Classroom (ABC) Teton Valley launched their second location in a nearby town with a strong teacher-student ratio. With this program, they have been able to provide more academic, enrichment, and wellness programs for underserved students in their community. Both locations have increased student population by 10% since Oct 1st. AH Bush, in Idaho Falls started a SOAR Afterschool Program and saw such a success that they will host this 6-week program twice more before the school year ends. Hawthorne Elementary, in Idaho Falls also hosted SOAR Afterschool Program for a third year and shared the following experience: “One student that traditionally struggles in the classroom to have socially appropriate relationships with peers thrived in this setting. He was able to make a new best friend and was so excited to play the games with his new friends.”

BUSH SOARHoodies

Other programs noticed similar benefits for their students, unlikely friendships were being forged and behavior was improving for all students who attended the afterschool programs. Harwood Elementary in Rigby noticed that school attendance had a drastic increase on days the students would participate in STEAM activities like cooking, art, music, math, and science. Along with improved attendance, Roberts Elementary afterschool program noticed a 10% increase in reading fluency for English while teaching at a Spanish immersive school.

Many afterschool programs truly went above and beyond for their students. For example, the YMCA in Idaho Falls was able to better serve children by providing mental and emotional support for parents of those attending their afterschool services. All of these programs offered nutritious snacks of some kind to the participants daily, but ABC Teton Valley piloted a new program where families at high risk of food insecurity receive weekly home meals without charge. Both Clark County School District and Lemhi Afterschool Promise purchased coats and warm gloves for their students. Lemhi Afterschool Promise reported “The children were so excited to receive the personal attention of the store’s sales associates. The children were so thankful and many of the parents had tears in their eyes when they came to pick up their child.” The influence of spreading these grant funds throughout our region has had opportunity to change the lives of those who wouldn’t have the chance otherwise.

Books

Aside from afterschool programs alone, United Way has been working to put books in every home with children. Before accepting this grant, we were distributing gently used books that had been donated to us by various community members. With the funds from this grant, we were able to hand out over 6,300 brand new books between October 1, 2021 and March 21, 2022. These books went out to children at school resource nights, school Santa visits, nonprofit holiday programs, school and community events and we sent home a book with every single child attending afterschool programs and every students at their associated schools before the winter break. We even made the front-page news of our growing town to celebrate this success! You can find this news article at the following link: https://www.postregister.com/news/local/united-way-donates-nearly-8-000-books-to-address-learning-loss/article_acab6e29-0861-510f-9884-43a977798c8b.html?fbclid=IwAR2ZUqwgxDh66VUOXMAsv7BCgrM-d2ddcxHD_lQu9wYgGF7TcMvTSHTf4z0

Along with books, we received a large donation from the CLIF Bar warehouse of over 42 pallets stocked full with CLIF and Z-Bars. Through established partnerships and other resources, we were able to distribute over 138,000 CLIF and Z-Bars to schools, hospitals, food pantries, shelters, nonprofits and afterschool programs. These bars can be found making their way to students through several backpack programs, and snacks for organizations serving those facing food insecurity.

We are so appreciative for the opportunities that have come through this grant. We are looking forward to seeing how this next period of grant funding will benefit the community and families with children.