P3, Partners for Hope Receives Needed Grant Funding

There was good news and not so good news for P3 last Friday. Meg Day and Lori Hammer were awaiting word on a grant application for funding to take them through the approaching school year. The good news is the Justice Assistance Grant was awarded to them, but not in the amount they had hoped. It will still be enough for P3 to develop into Partners for HOPE this fall and the 2011-2012 school year, but Day said they will have to make some changes.

The JAG funds come in four, one-year contracts, and each year the funding is decreased. Day had requested $180,000, but the local youth organization will receive only $125,000. Day’s salary is being eliminated, along with some other staff changes and cutbacks. She said she’ll continue to work for the center on East Elm Street, but in a limited capacity. The change dovetails with her decision to take her family to live in the Denver area, closer to other relatives. Lori Hammer will continue to operate the Teen Center and be assisted by Callie Evans, activity coordinator and youth activity director. Evans puts in 30 hours a week at the Center. Anthony LaTour, another youth coordinator, will remain with the Center.

When the new grant becomes functional, P3 will become Partners for HOPE, ” Day said, a move that has been planned for some time. HOPE, is an acronym for Health-Opportunity-Prevention-Education. An earlier agreement between the RE-2 school district and the Prowers County Commissioners will have the district become the administrator of the funding for Partners. The grant search will be on-going. Hammer said, “We will look into El Pomar, Anschutz and Daniels Foundations for additional funding for some year-round student activities.” These foundations have separate grant windows apart from JAG which runs from on an October through September schedule.

Although school is out, the Center has an assortment of activities through the summer season. Hammer said, “We’ll be out at John Martin Dam this Friday. This Thursday, June 16, we go to the bowling alley for 6th grades and up, and through June we have a cooking class on Monday and Wednesday.” The Teen Center will have a game night on the 24th from 7-10pm and activities are also planned for July and August. Hammer said she was not sure what impact the closing of Lincoln school might have on their Center, either more students or fewer. “Some of the kid might think that since they’re transferred to the middle school, they’re too mature to come to the Center” she commented. But Day replied that a lot of those kids have been with the Center since they were in the third grade and would still feel comfortable coming, even though they were entering the sixth grade now.

Both women expressed hope that additional funding was available from local sources, as local children are the direct recipients of the work of P3 and the Center. “We understand we’re in a tight economy. We’re considering other options to raise local funding, but there are only so many dollars available,” they remarked.

by Russ Baldwin

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