Historically large state grants to offset pandemic learning losses coming to Middletown

A Middletown youth community group is touting three major and recent financial grants for after‐school and summer programs as key for helping thousands of local children make up learning losses suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Officials at the Community-Building Institute of Middletown (CBIM) said the more than $2.2 million in state grants – spread out over two to three years – will help fund existing summer learning programs and pay for creation of new after-school instruction in coordination with Middletown Schools.

The historically large grants will also pay for youth services beyond extra school instruction including meals and mental health services, said CBIM officials.

“We are so excited about the impact and opportunity these grants will provide to our students,” said CBIM officials in a statement. Executive Director Karin Maney.

“These grants will allow us to offer free after school programs in every school in Middletown starting in September, providing kids with a safe place to be after school, snacks and a hot meal, academic tutoring, and extracurricular activities that challenge their mind and exercise their bodies,” said CBIM Executive Director Karin Maney.

The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) received over 700 applications and awarded 161 community-based partners across Ohio, of which CBIM received three. The grants awarded were the Summer Create Grant, awarding $684,705 - $228,235 per year for three years - for CBIM to offer free full-day summer learning opportunities at Mayfield Elementary, Smith Park, Three R Development, the Louella Thompson Dream Center, and the Robert “Sonny” Hill Jr. Community Center. These dollars will allow CBI to serve an additional 250 students in grades K-5.

Also, the ODE’s Summer Expand Grant awarded $598,434 - $199,478 per year for three years - to expand CBIM’s current free summer learning opportunities at Amanda and Rosa Parks Elementary, Middletown High School, and serve youth in grades K-5 and 9-12.

And the state’s Afterschool Create Grant was awarded $1,000,000 - $500,000 per year for two years - to expand after school programs to 10 new locations. Mayfield, Creekview, Miller Ridge, Wildwood Elementary, Highview 6th Grade Center, Middletown Middle School, Central Academy, Three R Development, the Louella Thompson Dream Center, and Robert “Sonny” Hill Jr. Community Center.

This funding will allow CBIM to serve up to 500 students in grades K-8 and offer free after school program sites at every school in Middletown and with two community partners.

In addition, these grants will also support weekly Meetup, Read Up, and Eat Up, our summer reading program from June 1 through July 20, at multiple locations in the community, and serves latch key students not enrolled in summer learning programs.

The grants are restricted for use to the out-of-school programming mentioned above, and not to be used for any building projects or other CBIM programs, said officials.

“The grants will allow us to work with our students year-round, providing social and emotional support, academic support and recreational opportunities. We are working in tandem with the Middletown School District and their Learning Recovery & Extended Learning plan which will create a robust experience for Middletown students. This is not just CBIM, it’s all of us working to do something really great for our kids,” said Verlena Stewart, assistant executive director for CBIM.

For interested parents and guardians to register their children for the free programs, go to www.cbimiddletown.org.

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