District Grant Request - The Rotary Club of Anthem requests a District Grant of $3,000 to augment its ongoing Homeless Youth Connection program. The Chair of the Rotary Club of Anthem Foundation is Rick Nollenberger. Tim Maki prepared this district grant request. Bill Black is the President of the Rotary Club of Anthem.
Background - In September of 2014, the Rotary Club of Anthem began helping homeless youth at Boulder Creek High School in Anthem. Through this effort, we found the need for that assistance also existed at Barry Goldwater High School. We began to provide that additional assistance in November 2014. Shortly after that in December, we added Mayer High School; and in January 2015, we extended the project to Sandra Day O'Connor High School. Currently, this is the only program in place that helps local homeless youth at the high school level.
Ten Anthem Rotarians work this project. Rotary Club of Anthem Past President Ray Norris chairs the project, assisted by Past Presidents Larry Evans, Tim Maki and other members. The project closely mirrors the Homeless Youth Connection started by Litchfield Park Rotarian Larry Cervarich in 2010.
Ascertainment - Students we help have been dealt a poor hand for the most part, due to the decisions made by their parents. Their circumstances often involve divorce situations, with parents moving away leaving the student on their own. Frequently, a parent moves on with a new relationship and their child is seen as a burden. Despite their circumstances, each of these students possesses the desire to complete high school. They express that to their counselors and demonstrate their passion for education by their drive and academic achievement. Many of these students have ambitions to go to college or join the military after high school.
The high school counselors vet students who are in need of support. Anthem Rotary is not directly involved with the students who benefit from this project. Counselors for each high school act as the go-between due to confidentiality rules. Once a student has confided their homeless status to their counselor, the counselor informs Anthem Rotarians of their specific needs. Anthem Rotary then provides meal cards, hygiene kits, computer thumb drives and clothing. The meal cards ensure that students can eat outside of school hours, evenings and weekends, since most of them receive free breakfast and lunch while at school. The hygiene kits enable students to shower at school. The students have access to computers at school; however, most do not have computers of their own, so thumb drives enable them to complete their schoolwork on computers they can use off campus such as at the public library.
Implementation - Anthem Rotarians visit the high school counselors frequently to determine what items are needed and in what quantity. The Rotarians then purchase the supplies, or solicit in-kind donations when possible. They then deliver the supplies to the counselors. The Rotary Club of Anthem treasurer is experienced in keeping detailed records to track grant-related expenditures. The 2015-16 District 5490 Grant will be disbursed by January 31, 2016.
Budget - During the 2015-16 academic year, our club will help approximately 81 homeless students. The estimated cost per student is $197, or $15,957 total. The Rotary Club of Anthem has a balance of $2,500 to carry over to the 2015-16 year, and the Board approved an additional $2,000 for the project next year. We have an inventory of about $1,000 worth of hygiene materials. Much of the funding for this initiative comes from outside contributions, as well as Rotary sponsored events, such as the annual golf tournament and the Taste of Fall event. If we do not receive the grant, we will scale back the budget and reduce the amount spent on each student by providing only necessities, such as meal cards, hygiene kits and backpacks.
Benefits - The Anthem Rotary Club is involved with improving the lives of area youth. Our goal through this program is to ensure local homeless students get the assistance they need, in order to stay in school and graduate.
By bettering the lives of these students, our community will benefit in the end.
Upon award of the District Grant, appropriate print, electronic, and social media releases will be made and posted. In addition to a generic explanation of the Homeless Youth Connection, the media releases provide facts about the Rotary Club of Anthem, Rotary International and the Rotary Foundation's charity rating that is the result of its funding model and financial oversight. The intent is to encourage the public to participate in Rotary events and contribute to Rotary Foundation programs and projects.