posted May 8, 2001

CASA Receives Local Grants

The Children's After School Achievement (CASA) Program at Hope College has received support through grants from two local community organizations to expand its work with elementary-age children.

The Youth Advisory Committee of The Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area has awarded CASA $6,500 for the "Math Multiplies Your Options" program. The Holland Junior Welfare League has awarded CASA $1,580 for the "Homework K.I.T.S. (Key Ingredients to Success)" program.

Through "Math Multiplies Your Options," CASA will enhance its emphasis on helping the elementary students better understand mathematics. The program will seek to help link mathematics and everyday life, provide the students with creative ways to express their own mathematical discoveries, and add a mathematician-in-residence to CASA's team of instructors and tutors. The program will begin with CASA's summer session this June and continue through the next school year.

The "Homework K.I.T.S." program will provide reference materials and other school-related supplies to each of CASA's students at the start of the next school year. Every child will receive a Garfield dictionary, and those from Spanish-speaking families will also receive a Spanish-English dictionary.

CASA runs year-round, providing substance abuse prevention, cultural awareness, academic and career experiences to at-risk first- through fifth-grade students.  The program is intended to improve the students' academic performance and help them develop healthy, productive lifestyles. CASA's students meet after school twice per week for two hours per session throughout the school year, and in the mornings during the six-week summer session.

Approximately 100 students participate during the school-year session, and 90 during the summer. Volunteers including Hope students and members of the community serve as tutors with the program.

Established by Marge Rivera in 1987, CASA was originally administered by Latin Americans United for Progress (LAUP) and housed at First United Methodist Church.  The program moved to the college in 1989, and is housed on the ground level of Graves Hall. CASA also receives support from the Greater Holland United Way, a City of Holland Block Grant, and a variety of area organizations and businesses.