A national nonprofit founded in 1992

Montgomery Advertiser: Power"ing ahead: 134 students complete scholar program"

By Kym Klass, Montgomery Advertiser
Published Friday, July 10, 2015

The auditorium at Carver Elementary School on Friday exploded in song and dance - and a little math rap - with 134 children showing off what they learned through a program designed to not only mitigate summer learning loss, but to boost self-confidence and support physical development.

The children participated in the Power Scholars Academy, a six-week program that includes an academic curriculum supported by enrichment activities targeting scholar talents and cultural diversity. The YMCA of Greater Montgomery was selected to host the first model in Alabama. This is the second year the program has been in the city.

The host site chosen was Carver Elementary.

Image removed.
(Photo: Shannon Heupel/Advertiser)

"None of us got to where we are by ourselves," said Gary Cobbs, CEO of the YMCA of Greater Montgomery. "The kids up here, they need all of your support. Because our kids can not do it by themselves. They need us, rely on us. The biggest program facing the young kids in our community, I think, is ... the lack of academic achievement. Let's just make sure we come together as a community."

BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life) is a national leader in expanding learning time to improve educational outcomes for children in kindergarten through eighth grade. The YMCA of the USA and BELL collaborated and established eight summer learning pilot programs with YMCA associations and has since grown to more than 20 sites across the nation.

The program is made possible through donors such as The Wallace Foundation. Funding for the academy is raised by the YMCA of the USA, BELL, YMCA of Greater Montgomery Partners with Youth, the state of Alabama, Montgomery County, the city of Montgomery, the United Way and in-kind gifts of the Montgomery Public Schools.

"This is a culmination event," Antonio Battaglia, COO of the National Power Scholars Academy said Friday, "which means it is the end of the program. But it's the beginning of their journey as they march across that bridge. As they march the rest of their lives. And each one of us are a pillar on that bridge.

"We're there to help them and guide them along. Not only just the team at BELL, the Y, the schools, the families, but all of us are a part of that. And so it is their bridge to tomorrow. To their future."

Margaret Allen, Montgomery Public Schools superintendent, echoed that. The program focusing on academics, she said, is exactly what needs to happen.

"It's everybody's responsibility," she said. "Every one of us has a role, and I love what I see in this room. This is the way it should be - parents, and teachers and community entities. We should all, always, be together. Not just on occasions like this. But we should put our foot in there every time it's time to stir something up. And it's time all the time."

For more information

BELL www.experiencebell.org/

YMCA of Greater Montgomery http://ymcamontgomery.org

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