Ohio Dominican University's Village to Child Program Receives Renewal Funding From United Way

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Columbus, OH – Ohio Dominican University’s Village to Child Program, a free, after-school academic enrichment program for at-risk middle school students, has received renewal funding from the United Way of Central Ohio in the amount of $65,000.

United Way funding helps provide transportation assistance, tutoring, homework assistance, and project-based and service-learning opportunities for middle school students who are enrolled in the program on ODU’s main campus, according to Reina Sims, MS, Director of Village to Child (VTC). “United Way funding enables Village to Child, in partnership with our community partners, the opportunity to provide at-risk students with the tools they need for academic growth and development. This in turn fosters their desire for lifelong learning and builds within them a sense of civic responsibility,” Sims said.

The 2006 Ohio Afterschool Network’s Parent Survey identified the need for continued support in the Franklin County service area for students who are at risk for academic challenges. “As the needs of our middle school students change, it is important that we continue to offer an academic enrichment program that changes with them, and supports the whole child,” Sims added.

Village to Child provides academic enrichment tools for a student’s successful transition from middle school into high school, culminating with his or her high school graduation. VTC is open to at-risk middle school students residing in the 43219 zip code area which surrounds ODU’s main campus. ODU students, faculty, staff, and VTC alumni volunteer their time to provide academic services to the students.

ODU’s academic and administrative divisions support the program with help from community partners such as the Mentoring Center of Central Ohio, Girl Scouts of Ohio, the City of Columbus Parks and Recreation, the Ohio Board of Regents, Columbus YWCA, and individual community members and business owners.

Ohio Dominican launched Village to Child in 1994 for students in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades. Parents interested in enrolling their children in the program can contact Ms. Sims, the VTC Director, at (614) 251-4528 or e-mail, simsr@ohiodomincian.edu.

Future VTC activities include incorporating science, technology and mathematics into group projects. For example, VTC students will work with ODU Assistant Professor Chad King, Ph.D., in a semester-long greenhouse project focused on green living. During the six-week program called “Village to Child CIS 101,” students will build a computer, load the software, then use the computer to make individual presentations to the class. Other programs focus on daily healthy snacks, physical activity, assessment test preparation, etiquette workshops, and LifeSkills -- a research-validated substance abuse prevention program proven to reduce the risks of alcohol, tobacco, drug abuse and violence.