Thursday, October 6, 2011

U.S. Department of Education Awards $47 Million in TRIO Grants

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded $46,925,156 million in TRIO Educational Opportunity Centers (EOC) program grants to 128 grantees in 44 states, as well as Puerto Rico, to provide counseling and information on college admissions to qualified individuals who want to enter, or continue, a program of postsecondary education. The goal of the EOC program is to increase the number of participants who enroll in postsecondary education institutions. The program also provides services to improve financial and economic literacy, as well as assist participants in pursuing financial aid options.

Details on Educational Opportunity Centers

Program Description

The Educational Opportunity Centers program provides counseling and information on college admissions to qualified adults who want to enter or continue a program of postsecondary education. The program also provides services to improve the financial and economic literacy of participants. An important objective of the program is to counsel participants on financial aid options, including basic financial planning skills, and to assist in the application process. The goal of the EOC program is to increase the number of adult participants who enroll in postsecondary education institutions.

Types of Projects

Projects include: academic advice, personal counseling, and career workshops; information on postsecondary education opportunities and student financial assistance; help in completing applications for college admissions, testing, and financial aid; coordination with nearby postsecondary institutions; media activities designed to involve and acquaint the community with higher education opportunities; tutoring; mentoring; education or counseling services designed to improve the financial and economic literacy of students; and programs and activities previously mentioned that are specially designed for students who are limited English proficient, students from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in postsecondary education, students with disabilities, students who are homeless children and youths, students who are in foster care or are aging out of foster care system or other disconnected students.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Innovation and Investment in The Whole Village

AMWS- September 17, 2011, Cobb County, GA –Members of The Whole Village celebrated Mariasonniah Elizabeth Smith as a Youth Achiever with all rights and responsibilities. Contributors to The Mariasonniah Smith Fellowship receive a free photo download.
Click Here and join their cause.

You can order our latest DVD
Economy of Winners II

Eric Stradford

AMWS, Cobb County, GA, -- Mariasonniah Smith, 12, shared a vision of her future as a teacher, a public speaker, a basketball player and a philanthropist. It seemed like a big dream for the caring adults in the local chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.  As celebrants of annual Martin Luther King Jr. service events, these community leaders know all too well the formula for walking in a dream.

“We saw Southern Christian Leadership at work today,” said Stephanie A. Walker Stradford, CEO, Youth Achievers USA Institute (YouthUSA). “There is no question of its need and the need for innovation and investment in its future." Some members of The Whole Village need jobs. Some need to grow their church membership. Some need patrons for their businesses. Some are fighting for justice. Some need so much they dare not even dream about what they need.

But some local community members are stepping into the dream as contributors to Positive Youth Development.  "As financial advisor, my role is to identify Mariasonniah's financial needs and advise the Whole Village on her net worth," said Curtis Fritts, Asset Manager.

That's a tall order since Mariasonniah's financial goal is to be a millionaire and a philanthropist.  But her Money-n-the-Bank goals can be achieved.  "YouthUSA promotes the spiritual value 'I believe I can achieve whatever I believe I can achieve,' said Cobb County SCLC Board Chair Rev. Dr. Sheryl Graves.  "As believers in Jesus Christ we share the belief that with Him, all things are possible."

YouthUSA adds innovation to investment in Mariasonniah, its newest beneficiary. As Cobb County’s first winner at THE ANNUAL YOUTH ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS, Mariasonniah has agreed to be an asset to her community. Her “Money-n-the-Bank” goals, a caring adult mentor and a Whole Village qualify her and her community for American innovation and investment aimed at meeting local needs.

A collaborative effort by Cobb County SCLC and YouthUSA promotes “Be The Bridge” as a development campaign for sponsoring Positive Youth Development events. The effort is in step with the national SCLCToday vision shared with YouthUSA by SCLC national president Isaac Ferris.

YouthUSA promotes a national vision for Positive Youth Development by investing in and supporting its beneficiaries. The campaign invites local churches and community-based nonprofits to invest in the dreams of participating local youth. Contributors can also support Mariasonniah directly or any Youth USA beneficiary at

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

$40 M for Children's Health Care Enrollment

August 29, 2011, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced $40 million in grants for efforts to identify and enroll children eligible for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Grants were awarded to 39 state agencies, community health centers, school-based organizations and nonprofit groups in 23 states. The two-year grants are authorized under the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) of 2009. Learn more.

Monday, August 29, 2011

2012 National Service Funding Announced

August 25, 2011, The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) kicked off its 2012 AmeriCorps grant competition by releasing three funding notices for organizations interested in using national service as a solution to critical problems facing our communities and the nation. The grant competition carries out the goals of the bipartisan 2009 Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act and the agency’s 2011-2015 Strategic Plan to achieve greater impact by targeting resources on a core set of challenges and using performance measures to assess and demonstrate impact.

The 2012 competition will target AmeriCorps grantmaking on the six national focus areas identified in the Serve America Act and the agency’s five-year strategic plan: disaster services, economic opportunity, education, environmental stewardship, healthy futures, and veterans and military families. To maximize its return on investment,

CNCS is seeking to fund programs that use an evidence-based approach to meeting community needs. Public or private nonprofit organizations, including faith-based and other community organizations, institutions of higher education, government entities within states or territories, labor organizations, Indian Tribes, partnerships and consortia, and intermediaries planning to subgrant funds awarded are eligible to apply. Organizations that have never received funding from CNCS or AmeriCorps are encouraged to apply for these grants. Applications are due January 18, 2012 and will be notified by May 31, 2012. Learn more and apply (PDF, 65 pages).

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Georgia ranked 44th in caring for kids

AMWS, -- One report, conducted by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and published annually through the Family Connections Partnership, ranked Georgia 44th in the nation in the well-being of its children. The old separation of church and state mindset may have contributed significantly to Georgia’s demonstrated care for kids. It may now offer a starting point for defining a New Georgia.

The Georgia Department of Human Resources, Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives and the Division of Family and Children Services are looking beyond the concept of American Idol-making and into a common vision for positive youth development. THE ANNUAL YOUTH ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS provides an alternative venue for defining “winners” based on a belief or assertion that“I can achieve.”

A movement from passive disagreement to passionate proactive collaboration calls for activism beyond the sanctity of traditional religious and government barriers. Our friends share a common passion for holistic youth development, but do not always trust methods or even definitions of wholeness. Some are finding possibilities through a secular process designed to build capacity from an individual’s vision of his or her future.

Youth serving agencies generally agree with faith leaders that more can be done to increase the peace for at-risk youth. Families hurting from loved ones lost to murder, drunk driving, and other such threats might also see the need for increased peace rather than increased policing.

In its proposed partnership with the state government, Youth Achievers USA Institute underscored a need for matching holistic needs of youth to diverse community resources. One of the most consistently missing pieces in state development strategies has been administering spiritual growth as a component of holistic development.

Faith-based and community leaders throughout Georgia have been invited to increase the peace for youth in their local communities. An annual deadline provides leaders with a chance to assess local needs and qualify for capacity building mini-grants that may be offered through state or charitable programs. Pre-funding activity offers youth development tools at no cost to the church or the state.

Some national leaders believe that helping America’s youth means defining the problem, assembling the resources and minimizing the barriers in between. Youth development is an approach that focuses on young people’s strengths rather than their weaknesses. Many adults tend to view youth as “problems” to be solved, rather than as assets who can contribute much to their communities.

The term“youth development” often refers to a specific approach to working with young people in which youth are actively engaged in their own development and are positively involved in their communities. Community organizations and programs that use this approach create environments in which young people thrive. A review of 10 evaluated mentoring programs concluded that one-on-one mentoring programs can enhance positive youth development: mentored youth have shown evidence of significant reductions in school absence; higher college participation; better school attitudes and behavior; less drug and alcohol use especially among minority youth; less likelihood of hitting others; less likelihood of committing crimes; more positive attitudes toward their elders and toward helping; and improved parental relationships and support from peers.

According to The White House, there are eight important features that justify The Annual Youth Achievement Awards as a key resource for positive youth development. Programs with these features can help young people develop important assets, such as good health habits, success in school, and attachment to positive influences such as schools, religious organizations, and community-based youth programs. These important features of programs include:

x Promoting a sense of safety – The Annual Youth Achievement Awards builds capacity around participating youth ages 7-24. The overarching goal is to increase the peace for a whole village of 20 caring adults.

x Providing appropriate structure—The Annual Youth Achievement Awards promotes a circular vs linear organizational structure. This structure allows for the assets of the whole village to be directed to the goals of a participating youth.

x Creating supportive relationships –Each completed application to The Annual Youth Achievement Awards establishes a one-to-one relationship between a participating youth age 7-24. The process supports the youth and mentor in developing a core group of advisors each supporting one of seven key areas of holistic development.

x Providing opportunities to belong – Each completed application to The Annual Youth Achievement Awards produces a winner with all rights and responsibilities. Youth Achievers collectively distinguishes an exclusive group of leaders based on their individual and collective vision of the future.

x Providing positive social norms, such as rules for behavior– Goals for a Youth Achiever represent value or ”Money-n-the-Bank.” The rules likewise promote positive and measurable youth development using similar methods to Wall Street’s valuing of commodities. Afterall, children are a nation’s most valued asset.

x Giving youth responsibilities and meaningful challenges -- “I believe I can achieve whatever I believe I can achieve.” It’s more than a theme song. It’s a measure for unlimited growth. Any winner who believes can also achieve.

x Providing opportunities for skill building— The Annual Youth Achievement Awards generates free webspace for each winner with standard links for skill building, scholarships and opportunities to promote local programs.

x Coordinating family, school, and community programming.—The Whole Village, in cooperation with a local church, mosque or synagogue promotes a community of faith and a proven foundation for anchoring family, school and community programs.

Positive youth development is an ongoing and intentional process. Young people need supports such as acceptance, high expectations, affection, and warmth. They also need opportunities to explore, create, contribute, and belong. Finally, they need relationships with parents, relatives, teachers, coaches, and other caring adults.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Mariasonniah Smith Signing Ceremony

View album
September 17, 2011

AMWS- September 17, 2011, Cobb County, GA – Members of The Whole Village celebrated Mariasonnia Elizabeth Smith as a Youth Achiever with all rights and responsibilities.

Click Here and join their cause.

Unauthorized duplication or redistribution is discouraged without expressed permission from YouthUSA.