Sun Prairie Community Schools to expand programming for low income families through new grant | Local News

A new $100,000 grant will allow a community school in Sun Prairie to expand programs for low-income families in the area.

Recently awarded by the state Department of Public Instruction, the grant will fund fitness and mindfulness activities, new clubs and additional programming for 50 students and area adults at Westside Elementary School.

The community school, which was established in 2012 along with its Main Street location at Prairie Phoenix Academy, aims to “increase available opportunities for youth and families to be lifelong learners,” said Sarah Smith, Sun Prairie Community Schools Director.

Sun Prairie Community Schools filled a noticeable gap in the community, with a “lack of appropriate opportunities for youth development, adult education and social support,” in Sun Prairie, Smith said.

The sites focus on “how we can bring resources out into Sun Prairie and house them in places where families are comfortable already, which are the schools here,” Smith said.

The grant will allow children at the school — particularly those experiencing barriers to success, such as mental health issues or low-income status — to engage in new clubs, including a gardening club, environmental club and international club, Smith said.

The school is partnering with the YMCA to provide more fitness opportunities, such as soccer, basketball, hip-hop dance, and track and field. Youth will also be able to engage in mindfulness activities at the start of each day. The hope is that better after-school programming will bring up school attendance, and increase long-term achievement, Smith said.

Adults will have access to English language classes and additional fitness and recreation opportunities. The school is looking to explore other adult opportunities, such as a partnership with UW-Extension to…

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