Bennington Group offers summer activities to young people thanks to federal funds | Local News


BENNINGTON — The Center for Restorative Justice is hosting a pizza-making event for young people at Ramunto on Monday. This will be followed by geocaching on Tuesday, a trip to Lake Shaftsbury on Wednesday, and music and games in Willow Park on Thursday.

And they don’t stop there. From Monday to Thursday each week, until August 27, the CRJ organizes free summer activities specially designed for students in grades six to eleven in the region. The Bennington Community Justice Organization has been providing summer activities for youth since 2005, but they’ve only lasted a week — until now, when the program received nearly $24,000 in federal funding.

CRJ said he is using the money to provide teens who aren’t typically involved in summer camps with fun, safe and supervised summer activities. Although the nonprofit primarily serves residents of Bennington County, it said young people from surrounding areas are welcome to join its summer youth activities.

“Providing free activities is key to supporting all young people,” said CRJ Executive Director Leitha Cipriano, “by giving them a chance to engage in opportunities they otherwise wouldn’t have had the chance to. to live.

The 11 weeks of activities planned for this year include miniature golf, fishing, swimming, as well as trips to the Mystery Escape Room in Albany, NY, and the MASS MoCA museum in Massachusetts. Snacks and lunch will also be provided.

Participants can sign up for as many activities as they want, organizers said. Some field trips have space limitations, so those who want to join are asked to register as soon as the CRJ announces the weekly activities via its Facebook page and mailing list.

CRJ, a non-profit organization established in 1984, serves approximately 1,500 youth and adult clients each year through programs that include prevention, intervention and community reintegration. Its summer youth program is among 39 Vermont recipients of the Summer for All grant, $3.85 million in federal dollars secured by Senator Bernie Sanders to expand summer enrichment programs for students. Kindergarten to Grade 12 this year.

“Not only are we doing better in terms of the pandemic – with all Vermonters twelve and older now able to be vaccinated – we are now investing millions of federal dollars in local communities for summer activities that will help thousands of students,” according to part of Sanders’ statement when the winners were announced in late May.

“Recipients who will receive these funds for their summer programs are essential to ensuring our young people have the great summer they deserve. By making their programs free or low-cost, meeting transportation needs, and finding opportunities for older students — like expanded employment options — these organizations are tackling key barriers faced by so many families who work in Vermont during the summer months,” the senator said.

Vermont Afterschool, a nonprofit group that administers the grant, said winners took part in a “highly competitive process” that involved 188 proposals with a total funding request of $7.4 million. Fellows included summer camps, libraries, municipalities, teen centers, and nonprofit social service organizations, all intended to supplement school curricula.


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