Amount Requested: $10,000 for the Amigos Readers program of Casa de Amistad
Mission: Our mission is to equip, empower and enrich lives in our multicultural community through programs of education and assistance. We achieve this goal through a homework assistance program called Amigos Readers and Saturday Supply Closet, a material assistance project. We partner with other organizations in the community to maximize our efforts and provide a wider range of services to a community in need.
Constituents Served: There is no formal method of means testing applied to those requesting our services. We meet needs where we encounter them, face-to-face. Most frequently, people are referred to us by Salvation Army, DSS, the public school system, and area churches from Augusta County, Waynesboro, Staunton and Nelson County. While we began our efforts primarily to serve a growing Hispanic population, we now encounter many people from across racial and ethnic lines experiencing poverty, under/unemployment, lack of education, etc. In 2015, the following numbers were served through our programs: Amigos Readers(PreK-HS)- 47; Summer Enrichment Day Camp – (K-5th grades)- 20; Saturday Supply Closet (distribution of over 12,000 personal hygiene and household products to children & adults)-308; Backpack Attack (school age)-85; Christmas Gifts(ages 13 & under)- 150. We also partner yearly with Basic United Methodist and Disciples Kitchen in providing hot, nutritious meals twice weekly from our location on North Delphine Avenue in Waynesboro. This meets feeding and companionship needs of 60-100 adults and children at each serving. At these meals, we host Augusta Hospital’s Wellness Program which provides health screenings and education to our clients.
Program Overview: Homework assistance in a safe, encouraging environment is offered during the school year on Monday through Thursday each week. Children are provided a nutritious snack followed by short recreation time. Volunteers then help the students complete homework assignments, study for tests and work on other grade-level appropriate skills. There is a small computer lab available with internet access and we have materials available to help with special projects and assignments as required in their classrooms. In the summer, we maintain contact with the children through a day camp program. We hope to continue to offer this service to the students, all of which come from a community struggling with poverty and all the social issues that accompany it. Our computer lab is made up of aging equipment that will soon need replacing. We need to replace games, provide educational worksheets, reduce the student-to-volunteer ratio. We have hired a coordinator for Amigos Readers for the remainder of this school year. This person is charged with daily operations, volunteer recruitment and retention, and implementation of best practices in education. We hope to be able to extend this position into the summer day camp season and the 2016-17 school year. We need to replace 3-5 computers that are used by the students in completion of school assignments. We would like to contract someone to provide regular maintenance and technical support for the computer lab. We hope to contract someone to develop and host a webpage. We consider the numbers served as a marker of confidence in our program. Forty-five students have taken advantage of the services so far in the current school year. We have two students participating in Jacob’s Ladder, a program recognizing at-risk gifted students, and six former students that are currently enrolled or have completed post-high school education. Also, our director was recognized in 2015 as a recipient of a Dawbarn Education Award.
Current Operating Budget: $69,400