BEND, OR -- The Every Kid Fund is accepting applications this week to provide scholarships for after school programs.
Amy Ward, Executive Director of the Deschutes Children's Foundation, says financial barriers should never stand in the way of any kid's chance to engage in activities like martial arts, music, dance, sports, and art. She says the Every Kid Fund is entirely supported by grants and contributions from private individuals. "Research has shown that if a child stays engaged for eighteen months or longer, it improves the benefit over the long term for the child, so there were donors in the community that wanted to help children access after school programs and remove financial barriers."
$7,500 is available twice a year to fund the scholarships, and the applications approved will be for programs from July through December. Since 2000, the Every Kid Fund has provided more than 3,400 scholarships totaling over $300,000. The fund is supported entirely by private individuals who didn't want finances to keep area kids from being able to access after school activities.
Ward says there's a wide variety of programs from which to choose. "We have supported Girl Scouts in the past. We have given a fair amount to Family Access Network which can then help students with activities like dance, boxing, karate, gymnastics, Bend Rock Gym, as well as art."
According to Ward, the Every Kid Fund works to identify, track and support individual youth for as many consecutive cycles as possible, because research shows consistent involvement in engaging after school activities creates healthier children and young adults. "The fund exists to help with any kind of after school activity. What we are looking for is that meaningful, long-term engagement."
Applications are due this Friday, June 22nd.