Youth Be Served – Local Youth Grant Helps Milford Community Center Renovate Dance Studio

In an unfinished part of the basement that competes for space among batting cages, a boxing gym and weight room, Jennifer Ward envisions hardwood floors, mirrors, ballet barres and kids grooving to the sound of hip-hop.

The director of the Milford Youth Center hopes a recent $54,706 grant will help the facility and its programs step into the 21st century and continue to grow. The money from the Greater Milford Community Health Network will transform 9,000 square-feet into a dance studio and movie room and put a stop to air quality concerns that affected mats and materials already in the space.

Based on state requirements, the Youth Center was eligible for capital improvement programs worthy of assistance from the local health network. More than 150 children have taken advantage of the nonprofit center’s hip-hop, yoga and cross-fit exercise classes in the last couple of years, through a partnership with the Milford Regional Medical Center.

A total of eight nonprofits were awarded a 2018 grant through the Greater Milford Community Health Network:

We would like to congratulate the following grant awardees:

  1. United Way of Tri-County
  2. Family Continuity Inc. 
  3. Edward M. Community Health Center
  4. Hockomock Area YMCA (Level 1)
  5. Hockomock Area YMCA (Level 2)
  6. Milford Youth Center
  7. Medway Public Schools
  8. Franklin Food Pantry

Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of GrantWatch.com, said nonprofits rely on grants to provide recreational opportunities for K-12 youth. From funds for facility construction and the purchase of recreational equipment to hiring staff and implementing programs, eligible nonprofits can find these grants on GrantWatch.

Grants are currently available from several sources to benefit nonprofit youth activities including the State of Washington which is offering funds to help defray capital costs associated with renovating and acquiring recreational facilities for children.

In the past two decades, federal, state, and local policy makers and foundations have dramatically increased funding to promote and sustain nonprofit youth activities held during after-school hours. Funding is often patched together from multiple sources.

When local business and volunteers rallied financial support to address player safety concerns in the Smyrna-Clayton Little Lass program, Major League Baseball — under the Baseball Tomorrow Fund — chipped in a $39,000 grant to help fund the installation of lights and renovations to playing surfaces, dugouts, fencing and bleachers as well as the purchase of an infield groomer to support on-going maintenance. 

Youth advocates believe participation in sports not only plays an important role in exercise, but studies have shown that children who are involved in recreational activities are better equipped to excel both academically and socially and less likely to drop out of school and become involved with drugs and alcohol.

About 130 children continue to use the Milford Youth Center daily. In addition to renovating the dance studio, youth center officials hope to create a multi-purpose space next door. These ongoing improvement efforts follow renovations a year ago to the gym and upgrades that made the 100-plus-year-old building accessible to the handicapped.

Nonprofits frustrated by the often-overwhelming process involved with searching for funding sources for youth grants and sports and recreation grants for activities held during after-school hours can identify grant opportunities that are easy to read and simple to comprehend at GrantWatch.com. Sign-up here to  receive the weekly GrantWatch newsletter which features geographic-specific funding opportunities.

About the Author: Staff Writer for GrantWatch

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