Charity gives $4K grant to Boys & Girls Club of Youngstown
By GRAIG GRAZIOSI
The children and teenagers at the Boys & Girls Club of Youngstown will have $4,000 worth of new learning technologies thanks to a grant from the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Mahoning Valley & Western Pennsylvania.
The grant was presented Wednesday afternoon to the club for use with an educational program – Project Learn – and was accepted by Germaine McAlpine, 27, the club’s executive director.
Project Learn is intended to create the best possible after-school environment for students through the collaboration of club workers, parents and area education professionals.
McAlpine, who the children call “Mr. Mac,” said the grant will be used to purchase new tablets and computers.
The technologies are often used by children during the club’s “Power Hour,” an after-school program where club workers and volunteers help the children with homework as well as extracurricular research.
Ronald McDonald House Charities – funded in part by donations from McDonald’s owner-operators – provide grants to youth organizations for use in educational services and health services.
McAlpine said the RMHC has supported the club for years.
Sheila Williams, coordinator for the RMHC, presented the check to McAlpine on behalf of the charity.
While giving interviews, McAlpine was interrupted by a young girl who asked him how to make a tablet’s keyboard appear. He showed her, noting that literacy with commonly used technology – like tablets and modern operating systems and programs – was just as important for the children’s futures as having the access to information the devices provided.
The local Boys & Girls Club and affiliated clubs work with students up to their high-school graduations. Older students and those about to graduate are expected to leave the club with a plan for the next phase of their lives; trade school, college or the military.
These students use the tablets and computers to develop plans for themselves after high school – a requirement from all students reaching the end of their time at the club.
“We don’t want our students to have to play catch-up once they enter college, or the workforce,” McAlpine said. “Being familiar with these technologies helps them to be competitive.”
McAlpine has worked with the club for 41/2 years and has been in Youngstown for two of them. Before becoming executive director of the Youngstown club, McAlpine worked at a club in Columbus.