This year's winning programs received Players Trust grants ranging in size from $8,800 to $47,700, which were presented on June 5 at Volunteers of America's national conference in Tampa. The six programs serve thousands of people in all regions of the United States:
Volunteers of America Greater Baton Rouge, Parker House and Baton Rouge Youth residential programs: Players Trust funding will provide durable and child-appropriate bedroom furniture for the Parker House and Baton Rouge Youth residential programs, which serve some of the most abused and neglected children and youth in the state of Louisiana. This grant will be used to purchase 16 beds and 16 chests of drawers for the children's bedrooms. The long-term impact of this funding will be a safer, more comfortable environment where children can heal from past trauma.
Volunteers of America of Western Nebraska, Center for Health Promotion: The grant will be used to upgrade 1980's exercise equipment at the Center for Health Promotion. The center's rural location makes providing adequate services to low-income people difficult. The 27-year-old health promotion program provides the only exercise facility in its county. The center offers low-cost classes and memberships to promote healthy lifestyles among children, families and adults.
Volunteers of America of North Louisiana, Highland Club: Funding will be used to establish the Highland Club, a service program for high-risk teenagers in Caddo Parrish, La. The club, targeting high school students, will run in the evenings and provide a safe haven for those without other secure or supportive alternatives. The Highland Club will help ensure teens get the support and guidance they need to make the right choices to become successful, productive, confident, independent and healthy adults.
Volunteers of America of Oregon, Kids Explore Oregon Project: Grant funds will be used to launch the Kids Explore Oregon Project to teach young people how to have fun without drugs and alcohol. The project will target those ages five to 18 at six public housing sites whose families don't have the resources to engage in fun community or outdoor activities. These funds will purchase a 12-passenger van to transport more than 300 children on numerous outings in and around the local community, as well as field trips further afield. These outings will promote healthy lifestyles by getting young people outdoors, exercising and exploring their surroundings.
Volunteers of America Colorado Branch, Brandon Center: The Players Trust grant will be used to enrich an existing on-site Children's Program at the Brandon Center. The grant will also be used to renovate the "Children's Playhouse" space in the facility reserved for children's programming. With the help of trained volunteers and designated homework computers, children will have access to tutoring, an appropriate study space, and assistance with homework. Brandon Center provides emergency shelter, meals and support services to dependent children of single mothers who are homeless as a result of domestic violence or other crises.
Volunteers of America of Massachusetts, Rebound Adolescent and Family Treatment Center: Funds will be used to remodel the kitchen and dining areas at the Rebound Adolescent and Family Treatment Center. The center is a 15-bed residential treatment facility in Boston serving male youth, ages 13-17, coping with drug addiction and alcoholism. The new space will create a multipurpose cooking and eating space where residents will learn the importance of healthy eating as they develop skills to prepare nutritional and affordable meals. Renovations will also all for a dining area that can double as a meeting space.
Volunteers of America has partnered with the Major League Baseball Players Trust since 2002. The centerpiece of this relationship is the Action Team program, which encourages young people throughout the United States to volunteer in their communities. Action Teams, consisting of Major League baseball players and team captains from area high schools, work together in cities nationwide to encourage young people to get involved in their communities by volunteering. To date, Action Teams across the country have inspired more than 40,000 high school students to help more than 145,000 people in need by volunteering in their communities.