Entergy grant to support Southeastern's after-school program

Tuesday, September 29, 2015
by: Rene Abadie

Entergy grantENTERGY LENDS SUPPORT TO HAMMOND EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM  -- Entergy Louisiana is helping to support Southeastern Louisiana University’s after-school literacy program Project Lion (Learning in our Neighborhoods) through a $22,500 grant. Now in its second year, the partnership provides affordable academic and enrichment activities for students in grades 4 through 8. Pictured, from left, are Entergy representatives Eunice Harris, Tangipahoa customer service representative; Regional Manager of Customer Service Dane Smith; Entergy Louisiana President Phillip R. May; Southeastern President John L. Crain; Gerlinde Beckers, assistant professor of education and project advisor; Shirley Jacobs, dean of the College of Education; and Southeastern Director of Individual, Corporate and Foundation Relations Lynn Horgan.

     HAMMOND – A $22,500 grant from the Entergy Charitable Foundation will help support a Hammond after-school educational program sponsored by Southeastern Louisiana University’s Department of Teaching and Learning and several other sponsors.
    The funds will be used with Project Lion (Learning in our Neighborhoods), a community partnership now in its second year that provides affordable after-school academic and enrichment activities for students in grades 4 through 8, explained Southeastern Assistant Professor Gerlinde Beckers.
    Beckers, who serves as project coordinator, said programming for the students will focus on academic performance, school engagement, personal and social skills.
    The grant from Entergy will help provide fee waivers to allow a broad participation among low income students with low educational attainment levels.
    “Entergy is proud to play a role in supporting educational assistance for this program,” said Entergy Louisiana President Philip May at the check presentation. “It’s important that educational attainment continue to show improvements, and programs like this can make that a reality. We hope to continue to grow this program and others with our educational partners.”
    “The activities also provide a real-world learning experience for our student teacher candidates, who will be working with the young students,” Beckers added. “The experience will help them become more effective and better prepared to address issues they may encounter as certified teachers working in their community schools. It fits perfectly with Southeastern’s Real-World Ready initiative designed to boost hands-on experiences to help students better prepare for the workforce.”
    Project Lion is expected to serve approximately 180 middle school students. The initial location is at the Hammond Community Center on Coleman Street. Beckers said additional locations will be announced at a later date. Southeastern is partnering with other organizations on the project, including the Hammond Youth Education Alliance, the City of Hammond and the Tangipahoa Parish School System.
    “Research has demonstrated that the most successful students tend to be those whose after-school time is occupied with extracurricular enrichment activities that reinforce and extend what is learned in the classroom,” Beckers explained. “Children with unoccupied time are more at risk for engaging in unhealthy or delinquent behaviors.”
    The fee waivers are important, she said, because for families living in poverty, the cost of extracurricular enrichment activities is often prohibitive.
    “As a result, children from these families tend to fall behind their middle-class counterparts, both academically and socially,” Beckers said.
    Academic areas addressed through the project include English and language arts, math, music, dance, and science. For more information on Project Lion, contact Beckers at 985-549-3030.

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