Madison Foundation grant supports local youth

MADISON — The Madison Foundation, in conjunction with the John Brady and Roberta Isleib Donor-Advised Fund will provide $5,000 to the Friends of Madison Youth–The Barn–to support families adversely affected by the COVID-19 economic and public health crisis, according to a statement.

The hybrid learning model, adopted by Madison Public Schools at the start of the school year, left parents scrambling to find affordable child care. The Barn stepped in to fill the void by creating a safe and affordable learning solution. The grant funding will be used to create a structured study hall for students learning remotely with socially-distanced workstations, cozy reading areas, and WIFI internet access. Additionally, the funding will support adult proctors to assist students struggling with the virtual learning environment, according to the statement.

The grant will also provide funding for The Barn’s theater program which supports children’s emotional and social development. Many students became depressed during the statewide shutdown spending too many hours isolated, sedentary, and in front of screens. Participation in theater productions offers students a creative outlet where they can reconnect with peers in a socially responsible way, according to the statement.

“The Barn has provided quality programs to local families for more than twenty years and for the first time is faced with the reality that we cannot continue to open our programs to people who can’t afford to pay at a time when families need our programs the most,” said The Barn director Robin Klaskin.

Many parents need to go to work and are not comfortable leaving young learners at home to navigate online schooling. Even parents working from home struggle with supporting their children and focusing on their work. The Barn’s structured study hall provides a safe, affordable childcare option for parents at a critical time, members said.

“This grant request had the unanimous support of the Board of Directors,” said Peter Roos of the Foundation’s grant committee. “The Barn was always self-sufficient but like so many local nonprofits, they had to cancel all their major fundraising events. This program provides a safe place for children to study while being inspired to learn and grow,” added Roos.

The foundation is actively seeking grants from other nonprofits adversely affected by the ongoing global pandemic. Please visit the foundation’s website at https://www.themadisonfoundation.org/grant-guidelines/ for additional grant information and to download the grant application.

— The Middletown Press

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