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24 area organizations get summer camp boost
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24 area organizations get summer camp boost

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Global Gardens (copy)

Children look over a raised bed at the Global Gardens at Union's Rosa Parks Elementary School in 2017. 

Several area nonprofit organizations are getting a financial boost as they finalize plans for summer programming in the era of COVID-19.

On Wednesday, the Opportunity Project announced almost $800,000 in grants for 24 organizations across the Tulsa area to provide summer events for students from communities that have been disproportionately affected by the ongoing pandemic.

“The pandemic has taken a toll on the mental health of everyone, but it’s been especially difficult for young people,” Executive Director Caroline Shaw said.

“Validated research shows that the single best thing schools can do to help young people emerge from the COVID crisis is build and strengthen relationships with them, foster engagement with caring adults and other kids, and increase academic youth outcomes and healing coming out of the pandemic.”

An intermediary network that connects youth-serving organizations, the Opportunity Project was a coordinator for a coalition of school districts, nonprofit organizations and child care providers during the 2020-21 school year to provide safe, supervised, CARES Act-subsidized learning spaces for Tulsa-area students on distance-learning days.

Pending a vote by the Tulsa school board on a proposed agreement, it could fill a similar role this summer for Tulsa Public Schools. The district previously announced plans to work with area organizations to provide programming this summer for Tulsa children.

Among the grant recipients announced Wednesday is Global Gardens, which provides gardening-focused lessons across multiple disciplines for elementary students during and after school.

Maryann Donohue, Global Gardens’ executive director, said the additional funding will allow the nonprofit to expand its summer camps in June to include up to 250 elementary students across five sites in the Tulsa and Union school districts, including 125 students just at Union’s Ellen Ochoa Elementary School.

Plans are also in the works for Global Gardens to provide enrichment activities for additional TPS campuses in July during the district’s summer programming.

“This is very exciting for us,” Donohue said. “We have a number of schools that we partner with in small ways because we haven’t had capacity in the past to offer more programming. This is a chance to serve even more families.”

Pictures of the year by the Tulsa World photo staff

lenzy.krehbiel-burton@

tulsaworld.com

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My primary beat is public education. I am a third-generation graduate of Oklahoma State University, a board member for Oklahoma SPJ and an active member of the Native American Journalists Association.

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