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Neighborhood Focus Receives Duke Energy Foundation Grant Award

We are pleased to share with you that we've been awarded a grant from the Duke Energy Foundation to help launch our new CULTIVATE @ NF program this spring and summer!

Like many out-of-school time programs, we pivoted in March 2020 and embraced new ways of doing old things and began doing new things that we had never previously considered part of our mission. In the midst of COVID, another silent and often hidden crisis has emerged in our youngest population: many of our teens are not ready – academically, socially, emotionally, and physically - for the challenges they now face coming out of the pandemic.

In response to this emergency, we're launching a 5-month pilot program called CULTIVATE @ NF to reach vulnerable middle school students that typically fall through the cracks. Students who show enough initiative to try out for a sport or other extramural school activities, but are eventually cut, oftentimes become lost in the system and sometimes lose their way.

Recognizing that soccer is a powerful vehicle for attracting and positively impacting teens in the White Horse Road Corridor, we will bring in students from nearby middle schools who tried out for Spring Soccer but were cut during tryouts. Statistics show that lack of proper conditioning is the most common reason for not making the team. Leveraging their demonstrated interest in soccer and believing these students have great potential, CULTIVATE @ NF will employ a novel whole person strategy to re-engage these students and immerse them into a supportive environment while nurturing their soccer skills and conditioning.

Convening three afternoons per week, CULTIVATE @ NF will provide time and space daily for an accountable study hall, individual support and tutoring for remedial reading and math, interactive social and emotional learning activities, and structured soccer conditioning and skills development.

The Duke Energy Foundation recently awarded more than $375,000 in grants to 46 South Carolina organizations that will fund tutoring and reading programs in underserved and minority communities to combat learning gaps created by COVID, as well as environmental education programs for Title 1 schools and culturally relevant professional development, particularly as it pertains to racial equity in education. We are proud to be one of these grant recipients!

Thank you, Duke Energy Foundation!

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