Horizons students at Sacred Heart University in summer 2012. (Photo by Tracy Deer-Mirek)
Sacred Heart University’s Horizons program, which brings low-income elementary-aged students to a summer learning program on Sacred Heart’s campus, has received a $75,000 operating grant from Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority (CHEFA). The authority granted more than $1 million for 2013 programs, shared between 15 grantees.Greg Middleton, executive director of the Horizons program at Sacred Heart University, said that as a new program in the Horizons National network this past summer, Sacred Heart University, in affiliation with Horizons National, brought 32 students entering first and second grade from Bridgeport Public and Cathedral Education Cluster schools to its campus for six weeks.
That time was used to address summer learning loss, a phenomenon in which low-income students fall behind in reading and math skills when school is out of session. By addressing achievement gap issues and offering students the opportunity to improve their skills during the summer, the 2013 grant will also be used to help train students so they’re better prepared when school resumes in the fall.
“We’re delighted CHEFA recognized the important work we’re doing with these children and the valuable relationship we’ve formed with Horizons National,” Middleton said. “Horizons is a program that exists solely on grants and the generosity of individual supporters. The CHEFA grant will help to ensure that generations of Bridgeport children will never fall victim to the achievement gap.”
According to Virginia Harris, executive director of foundation and grants for Sacred Heart, the CHEFA 2012 Client Grants focused on programs that reflect strong collaborative efforts between nonprofit organizations — in this case between the university and Horizons National. Funding, she said, will be used toward the general operating costs of the program, which is approximately $2,500 per student per year.
“Sacred Heart University’s mission calls us to share our talents and resources for the greater good of society, and the Horizons Program is one example of that,” Harris said. “In its second year of operation, Horizons at Sacred Heart University will be serving 48 of Bridgeport’s K-2 elementary students, setting them on a path to a better future.”