(FLINT, Mich. Sept. 26, 2013)– Thousands of Flint and Genesee County elementary- and middle-school students will continue to receive academic, recreational and enrichment activities after school with the support of a $3.1 million grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation for YouthQuest, a program of the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce and the Genesee Area Focus Fund (GAFF), a support organization of the Chamber.  This grant follows a package of grants totaling $726,200 awarded last week to support science and arts education activities for students attending the Flint Community Schools.

YouthQuest, which served nearly 2,000 area students in 2012-13, is designed to reinforce learning that takes place during the school day by offering high-quality activities and services that encourage the exploration of new interests in the areas of science and the arts and promote academic achievement, physical fitness, youth leadership and volunteerism.

“Interest and curiosity are powerful motivators for learning,” said Kimberly Roberson, director of the Foundation’s Flint-Area grantmaking program.  “YouthQuest uses the hours between 3 and 6 p.m. to educate differently and provide practical experiences that help students apply what they learn during the regular school day.  Combined with recreational activities and homework help, the program not only builds student’s confidence, but encourages families to engage with the local school and their child’s education.”

Mott support for YouthQuest and Bridges to the Future, as the program was known when it was launched in 1998, has totaled more than $30 million since 2000.

According to national research by the Afterschool Alliance, regular participation in quality out-of-school programs like YouthQuest can lead to better grades, lower rates of truancy, more engagement in school, attainment of higher levels of achievement in college and a reduction in delinquency and contact with the police.  Advocates also note that for many working parents and guardians, afterschool programs help ensure their children are in a positive environment during the hours after school.

“We are deeply appreciative of the Mott Foundation’s ongoing support for YouthQuest,” said Tim Herman, CEO of the Chamber.  “A grant of this size enables YouthQuest to offer a comprehensive array of services and add another three hours of enrichment to the school day to give underserved students the boost they need to succeed academically and socially.”

Rhetta Hunyady, vice president of Education & Training at the Chamber, notes that while each YouthQuest site is unique to the school community it serves, the program consistently integrates core academic and enrichment components with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and the visual and performing arts.

“No matter where they attend school, YouthQuest participants receive the support they need to excel, new experiences to excite their imaginations and an opportunity to explore the world through a broad range of experiences,” she said.

During the 2013-14 academic year, YouthQuest will be offered for students attending the following schools:

Carman-Ainsworth Community Schools

  • Dye Elementary
  • Randels Elementary
  • Rankin Elementary
  • Carman-Ainsworth Middle School

Flint Community Schools

  • Brownell STEM Academy
  • Holmes STEM Academy
  • Potter Elementary

International Academy of Flint Schools

  • Elementary and middle school programs

Lakeville Community Schools

  • Lakeville Middle School

Mt. Morris Consolidated Schools

  • Montague Elementary
  • Moore Elementary
  • Pinehurst Elementary

Montrose Community Schools

  • Carter Elementary School
  • Kuehn-Haven Middle School

More information about YouthQuest and applications for enrollment are available online at www.yquest.org or by calling (810) 422-5904.

The Mott Foundation, established in 1926 by an automotive pioneer, is a private philanthropy committed to supporting projects that promote a just, equitable and sustainable society.  It supports nonprofit programs throughout the U.S. and, on a limited geographic basis, internationally.  Grantmaking is focused in four programs: Civil Society, Environment, Flint Area and Pathways Out of Poverty. Besides Flint, offices are located in metropolitan Detroit, Johannesburg (South Africa) and London. The Foundation, with 2012 year-end assets of approximately $2.30 billion, made 439 grants totaling $91.0 million.

Mott’s longstanding commitment to its hometown is further reflected by the more than

$786 million the Foundation has invested in the greater Flint area over the past 85 years – $31.85 million in 2012 alone.  That funding has included support for YouthQuest and other programs serving children and youth; economic and downtown development; job training; public safety; and emergency and family services.

For more information, visit www.mott.org.