The Southern California Gas Company provided a grant last week to the Isla Vista Youth Projects (IVYP) so children in I.V. can continue to enjoy after-school programs.
The $500 grant, officially presented Oct. 12, will help fund various activities for the first- through sixth-graders in the after-school enrichment program at I.V. Elementary School, which is sponsored by the IVYP’s “School-Aged Program.” Kristen Reed, coordinator of the School-Aged Program, said the after-school program provides a positive environment for over 120 I.V. Elementary students.
“The vast majority of our parents are working parents, and they need somewhere safe and also affordable [for their children],” Reed said. “Over half of our kids are on scholarships, and the other kids only pay $45 a month.”
Most children in the program stay two and a half to three hours per day, Reed said, which includes an hour and a half of homework as well as cooking, drama, creative writing and other activities.
“The kids choose an activity club for every day of the week that they’re here, and those range from anything from sports to science to math and literacy, and we have a couple of holiday-type events,” Reed said. “We will be doing a haunted house for Halloween. We have a couple of groups coming in to do pumpkin carving.”
Several girls at the school said their favorite activities were handball, jump rope and hula-hoop.
“I like the activities, like art projects, playing in the playground, and watching movies,” said Monica, a fourth grader in the program.
Adam Smith, a fourth-year philosophy major and president of Sigma Nu Fraternity, proposed the grant on behalf of the IVYP. The Gas Company provided the money through its Corporate Giving Grant Program.
Smith said he wanted to help the organization because his fraternity has been working closely with the IVYP for several years.
“UCSB mandates community service hours for each fraternity house per quarter,” Smith said. “After the mandate was fulfilled, we realized how much fun it is and how rewarding it is to work with these underprivileged kids, when we at UCSB have so much and they have so little.”
Timothy Mahoney, Southern California Gas Company district manager, said his company has given numerous grants to organizations within the county.
So far this year, Mahoney said the company has given awards to the Central Coast Clean Cities Coalition, Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital and the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission.
“We try and make contributions to community projects in our service territory, and [IVYP] is a worthwhile project,” Mahoney said.
I.V. Elementary Principal Lisa Maglione said the after-school enrichment program plays a positive role in her students’ lives, and she said the donation will be very significant for the program.
“Anything that comes forward to provide support for our students on campus benefits not only the school, but the community and ultimately UCSB too,” Maglione said. “So we’re very pleased.”
Reed said one of her main goals is to increase literacy rates for the children in the program who are learning English as a second language.
“Literacy is very important for these children,” Reed said. “We have a tremendous need for tutors so that kids can get one-on-one help academically, because one of our biggest goals is to be supportive of their academic growth.”
Reed said although Sigma Nu members contribute their services almost daily and this grant will help the program’s activities, there is still a great need for volunteers.
“We need volunteers to come in and help with the activities we do after school,” Reed said. “The more adults you have, the lower [volunteer-student] ratio you have, and the better program you can do.”