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United Way of Weld County grants $20,000 to Weld County recreation programs

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By The Staff

GREELEY — United Way of Weld County has awarded $20,000 to recreation centers and districts throughout Weld County to scholarship the participation of children and youth in summer activities.

Recipient organizations include Carbon Valley Park and Recreation District; City of Evans Recreation Department; City of Fort Lupton Recreation Department; City of Greeley Culture, Parks, and Recreation; Kersey Recreation; LaSalle Recreation; Thompson Rivers Park and Recreation District; Town of Eaton; Town of Erie; Town of Mead; Town of Platteville; Town of Windsor, Parks, Recreation and Culture.

For more than 20 years, United Way has funded and facilitated a competitive Youth Recreation Scholarships grant awards process. After they receive an award, recreation centers and districts subsidize the participation of lower income youth in activities like baseball, swimming, dance, and archery.  Many of the receiving children and youth are qualified through their participation in school free and reduced lunch programs.

Given the flooding last year, the scholarship support provided in 2013 was especially appreciated by a number of families.

“Thompson River Park and Recreation fall sports started up just after September floods,” shared recreation director Jeff Grim.  “The United Way scholarships provided assistance to many of our families who were in greater need than ever.  The ability to participate in our activities allowed kids to take their minds off of flood impact and to return to some normalcy.”

In 2013, 795 Weld County children and youth benefited through the scholarship program.

“While it is a small amount of funding — the $20,000 available for scholarships this year was less than half of the amount requested — the return on investment is huge,” said Margie Martinez-Perusek, a member of the award allocations committee. “We know the participation in activities is great for the kids bodies, and also that it makes them spirits happy.  Reading the reporting from last year’s scholarships, time and again the recreation directors said their primary measurement of success is the smiles of children and youth.”

For more information about the Youth Recreation Scholarships program please contact Lyle SmithGraybeal, United Way vice president of community impact, at 970-353-4300 or lyle@unitedway-weld.org.