Governor Phil Scott And Senator Bernie Sanders Announce Nearly $4 Million In Grants For Youth Summer Program
Montpelier, VT (STL.News) Governor Phil Scott, Senator Bernie Sanders and Vermont Afterschool today announced the recipients of the Summer Matters for All Grant Program. A total of $3.85 million was awarded to about 100 programs in 13 counties to expand access to summer enrichment opportunities for K-12 youth this summer.
Governor Scott has put an emphasis on helping Vermont kids recover from the pandemic and the isolation it caused, including creating opportunities for them to safely reconnect with their peers and their communities.
“As we emerge from the pandemic, we must do all we can to help kids gain back what they lost, especially those social connections and the important development that comes along with it,” said Governor Scott. “I’m pleased to have worked with Senator Sanders and all our partners to put this grant program forward, which will help make sure there are more accessible, educational and fun options for kids and families this summer.”
The grants, funded by federal dollars secured by Senator Sanders, were awarded to a variety of programs, including summer camps, libraries, municipalities, teen centers, non-profit social services organizations and more, to expand the number of weeks and slots, as well as to increase affordability and accessibility of summer programs. These offerings will supplement school-based programs, as districts in Vermont received federal funds, which are also eligible for this work. The funds will also lead to more partnership options for local school-based programs.
“As we prepare to close out what has been one of the most challenging school years in the modern history of our nation, it is good news that we are making significant progress for our young people,” said Senator Sanders. “Not only are we doing better in terms of the pandemic – with all Vermonters twelve and older now able to be vaccinated – we are now investing millions of federal dollars into local communities for summer activities that will help thousands of students. The grantees who will be receiving these funds for their summer programs are key to ensuring our young people have the great summer they deserve. By making their programs free or low-cost, addressing transportation needs, and finding opportunities for older students – like expanded employment options – these organizations are tackling the major barriers faced by so many working Vermont families during the summer months. I thank each and every one of the people who have worked to make today possible and look forward to seeing all you are able to do this summer.”
In total, the funds will create 31,650 new summer program slots over the course of the summer, lead to a total of 238 new weeks of summer programming and decrease the average weekly cost to families by $162. Additionally, 55 of the grant recipients will offer transportation; 100 will offer low or no cost programming for eligible students, and 90 are ensuring access for all kids, including those with disabilities or unique needs.
“Summer is the perfect opportunity to help kids reconnect and recharge. We are incredibly grateful to our state leaders and policymakers for their commitment to the development of the Summer Matters for All Grant Program. With this funding, communities and youth-serving organizations across the state will be able to create a great summer for Vermont children and youth that will help them make new memories and emerge from the pandemic strong, resilient, and hopeful,” said Holly Morehouse, Executive Director of Vermont Afterschool.