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Mill Foundation awards grants to five organizations
Posted By Brandon Reid On May 23, 2012 @ 5:57 am In Local News, Online Exclusives | No Comments
The following five organizations received grant funds from the Mill Foundation at a news conference May 18.
Big Brothers Big Sisters: $16,000
Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) has been the leader in one-to-one youth service for more than a century and has been present in the Rockford area since 1956.
Positive relationships are developed through community-based, one-to-one mentoring. These relationships have a direct and lasting impact on the lives of these young people. They feel heard, understood, supported and encouraged to reach their full potential.
BBBS serves children between the ages of 6 and 18 in Winnebago and Boone counties. In addition to coordinating individual mentorships, the organization also provides school-based mentoring at Summerdale Early Childhood Center, Washington Elementary School (Belvidere) and Rockford Jefferson High School.
Visit www.rockfordymca.org/bbbs .
The money provided by the Mill Foundation will serve up to 100 additional youth and will be specifically focused on those who have at least one parent incarcerated. More than 35,000 children in Illinois have an incarcerated parent and are living below federal poverty guidelines. These children tend to do poorly in school and are very likely to engage in criminal activity. This perpetuates a cycle of failure within the dysfunctional family structure.
Having a mentor in these children’s lives will improve their relationship interactions and help them to do better in school so they can be more successful in life and break that cycle of crime and poverty that so many of them face. In addition to one-to-one mentoring, Big Brothers Big Sisters will offer services such as counseling; parent, child and volunteer support groups; and specialized training for families and volunteers, as appropriate.
Winnebago County CASA: $10,000
CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates. Winnebago County CASA is a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization that advocates for abused and neglected children within the Juvenile Court system. Trained volunteers are appointed by a judge to represent the best interests of children in the abuse and neglect court.
CASA ensures children are visited at least monthly, and that their needs, desires and circumstances are reported to the court at every scheduled hearing.
CASA volunteers stay with each case until the child is placed in a safe, permanent home. For many abused children, their CASA volunteer will be the one constant adult presence.
Visit www.winnebagocountycasa.org .
Approximately 1,200 open cases exist in Winnebago County Juvenile Abuse/Neglect Court, and CASA is able to serve only 30 percent of that need. Also, many of the children served by CASA come from a diverse range of cultures and backgrounds and would benefit from having an advocate who better understands that culture.
Funding from the Mill Foundation will go toward the recruitment of volunteer advocates reflecting the diversity of the children CASA serves. Communities throughout Winnebago County will be targeted through organizations and churches, as well as outdoor and television advertising. Funds will also cover the 35 hours of training volunteers must complete before becoming advocates.
Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois: $10,000
Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois (GSNI) was formed Oct. 1, 2009, through the merger of four Girl Scout councils from Rockford, Freeport, Sugar Grove and Elgin.
GSNI now serves 16 counties in northern Illinois stretching from Galena to the west, Rockford to the north, Dixon/Sterling to the south and Aurora to the east. GSNI is now able to offer expanded programs and experiences for girls to provide the tools they need to be successful leaders now and throughout their lives.
Visit www.girlscoutsni.org .
Rockford has a long history of teen violence, and crime and bullying among girls is on the rise nationwide. The funds received from the Mill Foundation will be used to support violence prevention programs.
Blackhawk Area Council, Boy Scouts of America: $7,500
The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is one of the nation’s largest and most prominent values-based youth development organizations. The BSA provides a program for young people that builds character, trains them in the responsibilities of participating citizenship and develops personal fitness.
The mission of the Blackhawk Area Council is to positively change the lives of those served with membership opportunities in quality programs of character and leadership development.
The council serves approximately 18,000 youth across the counties of Boone, Jo Daviess, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside and Winnebago in Illinois and Grant, Green and LaFayette counties in Wisconsin.
Visit www.blackhawkscouting.org .
Thousands of youth in the Rockford area are considered to be at-risk because of their environments. Crime is high, income is low and these youth are exposed to drugs, gang activity, crime and hunger on a daily basis.
Many of the common conditions these children live with make it difficult to conduct traditional Scouting programs for them. Recruiting adult leaders was also very difficult, and so, in 2000, the Blackhawk Area Council began to implement the Scoutreach Urban Scouting program.
The Scoutreach program addresses the six critical elements of healthy youth development: personal character, sense of self-worth, caring relationships with peer groups and adults, desire to learn, productive use of time and social adeptness.
The program instills the same values as traditional scouting, but allows for paid leadership positions, as opposed to the traditional volunteer positions.
Special assistance is also given to those individuals who can’t afford the necessary supplies to participate in the Boy Scout program.
In its first year, Scoutreach served 1,200 youth and has grown to serve approximately 2,100. With the funds from the Mill Foundation, the council hopes to expand that number to 2,500.
Rockford Day Nursery Early Learning Center: $1,472
The Rockford Day Nursery provides quality care and education for young children ages 6 weeks to 12 years whose parents are employed or involved in work-related training.
Students are involved in developmentally appropriate learning activities during the day and learn self-care routines, how to make healthy choices, and social and problem-solving skills.
Children receive breakfast, lunch and afternoon snacks. Children in the before- and after-school program are given help with homework during school and skills retention and enhancement during the summer.
Standards for infant cribs have changed significantly, and the Rockford Day Nursery must replace all the cribs they use with those that are more durable and meet the new guidelines. Funds from the Mill Foundation will go toward purchasing those new cribs.
From the May 23-29, 2012, issue
Article printed from The Rock River Times: http://rockrivertimes.com
URL to article: http://rockrivertimes.com/2012/05/23/mill-foundation-awards-grants-to-five-organizations/
URLs in this post:
 www.rockfordymca.org/bbbs: http://www.rockfordymca.org/bbbs
 www.winnebagocountycasa.org: http://www.winnebagocountycasa.org
 www.girlscoutsni.org: http://www.girlscoutsni.org
 www.blackhawkscouting.org: http://www.blackhawkscouting.org
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