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Dubuque awards non-profit with grant to keep students connected with each other and the community

Published: Feb. 24, 2021 at 9:40 PM CST
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - For millions of people, daily Zoom calls have become a routine.

However, for a group of students in Dubuque, it has been a source of comfort and familiarity.

Those students take part in St. Mark Youth Enrichment, a local non-profit group’s, after-school programs. They meet to partake in fun activities centered around art, science, reading, and even yoga.

Taylor Noel, who works with St. Mark, said those programs are usually in person, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, are now online.

“Our virtual programming allows a safe space for our students to go outside of school time,” she said. “With all the transitions lately it has been very beneficial to have them have some trusted staff to go to, communicate with their peers, and really be able to engage in that social-emotional learning outside of their academics during the school day.”

Funding those online sessions, though, ended up being a challenge.

“As we were nearing the end of December we had some connections set up with our site staff and a couple of our students when they could connect, and without the funding that we received we were going to have to cut back on those calls a little bit and try and find different ways to have check-ins,” Noel explained.

Because of that, staff at St. Mark applied for a grant and the city of Dubuque awarded $25,000 to the non-profit.

Noel said they plan on using the funds to address staffing issues.

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