A Charleston-based nonprofit plans to continue its work in one North Charleston school and expand to its first rural site with the help of federal grants announced Monday.
WINGS for Kids was among 10 recipients statewide to receive a piece of $1.7 million to create community learning centers, or sites that provide academic and enrichment activities to students before and after school and during the summer.
WINGS plans to use the money to continue teaching children social and emotional skills in an after-school setting at North Charleston Elementary, as well as expand to rural Main Street Elementary in Florence 3.
“It makes it easier to operate with this money,” said Bridget Laird, chief executive officer of WINGS. “If we did not receive this money, we’d find it elsewhere ... but it’s clearly a big source of funding that is extremely helpful.”
Three Lowcountry schools were among 12 statewide that will benefit from the federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant. North Charleston Elementary, Burke High in Charleston and St. George Middle in St. George each will receive up to $200,000 annually for up to four years as part of the grant program.
School districts as well as public and private organizations can apply for the funds. The grant for Burke High will be administered by Charleston County School District, and it will help provide Science, Technology, Engineering and Math instruction and enrichment activities, homework help and mentoring for 80 students in sixth through eighth grades, according to the school district
The grant for St. George Middle will be overseen by Dorchester 4 school district.
WINGS announced last week it had won a $2.5 million, three-year grant from the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation that will help it grow to 16 schools in four communities. The nonprofit already works in four Charleston County schools, including North Charleston Elementary, and it grew last school year to two schools in Atlanta.
Its newest site at rural Main Street Elementary in South Carolina will be open to 100 of the school’s more than 350 students, and those who have academic, behavioral or family challenges will have first priority to enroll.
Laird said she hopes the program will transform the community by making a difference in students’ lives as well as building leaders in the community who can stay and continue giving back.
Reach Diette Courrégé Casey at @Diette on Twitter or 937-5546.
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