The Danville Regional Foundation in Danville, Virginia, has awarded a four-year, $2.3 million grant to the NoBell Coalition to expand out-of-school opportunities for youth in the Dan River region, the Caswell Messenger reports.
Through a region-wide collaborative initiative involving seventy organizations, the grant will support afterschool programming for children between the ages of 5 and 18 in Danville, Pittsylvania County, and Caswell County, North Carolina. Led and supported by United Way of Danville-Pittsylvania County, the coalition will work to coordinate a network of community partners interested in aligning their resources to boost program access, quality, and sustainability across the region. The coalition was awarded a planning grant for the initiative in 2010.
According to a 2010 NoBell survey, 40 percent of middle school youth in the region reported spending most of their afterschool time engaged in unstructured activities such as playing video games and watching TV. Research has shown that regular participation in a high-quality afterschool program can improve school attendance and engagement in learning, increase test scores and grades, and help close the achievement gap.
"From our perspective, the NoBell Coalition is a tremendous opportunity for the region," said Danville Regional Foundation president and CEO Karl Stauber. "We are pleased to make this investment and believe that this model of local nonprofits, schools, and many other partners, working together toward a common goal is an important one....The goal of NoBell, to ensure that every child in the region gets the enrichment they need outside of school to develop fully, is one that can have tremendous long-term impacts for the region."