Youth who regularly participate in high-quality programs develop strong social skills, are excited about learning, improve work habits and grades, improve school day attendance, have higher graduation rates, explore career paths and gain workforce skills. However, the North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs recognizes that many factors have the potential to serve as barriers or challenges for programs serving youth, especially those in rural communities. The purpose of the POWER UP Program and mini-grants is to provide programs in pre-determined rural counties with resources and on-going technical support over the course of two years to build program capacity.

Programs serving youth afterschool, before school and during the summer months were able to apply to participate in the POWER UP Program.  Monthly in-person or virtual sessions will focus on a range of topics and program focus areas including: asset mapping; grant writing; science, technology, engineering and mathematics (S.T.E.M.); social and emotional learning; literacy; parent and family engagement; staff and volunteer recruitment and retention; program finance; private and public partnerships; and K-12 and higher education engagement. Additionally, participating programs will be provided two waived registrations for the Synergy Conference over the course of the POWER UP Program.

At the end of year one, all participating programs will be asked to submit a proposal for mini-grant funding through the NC Center for Afterschool Programs. All programs who have attended at least 80% of the monthly in-person and virtual sessions will receive $1,000 for their programs. Up to 5 exemplary proposals will receive $5,000 for their programs. The purpose of proposal funding is to support programs in their endeavors to combat a challenge they experience serving youth in a rural county.

Participating programs currently serve youth afterschool, before school or during the summer months in one of the following counties:  Anson, Beaufort, Bladen, Halifax, Hertford, Lenoir, Martin,  Nash, Rockingham, Scotland, Washington and Wilson.

Programs participating in the POWER UP Program and their respective counties are as follows:

  • Boys & Girls Club of the Coastal Plain – Lenoir Unit [Lenoir]
  • Boys & Girls Club of the Coastal Plain – Robersonville Unit [Martin]
  • Boys & Girls Club of the Coastal Plain – Washington Unit [Beaufort]
  • Boys & Girls Club of the Coastal Plain – Williamston Unit [Martin]
  • Boys & Girls Club of the Tar River Region [Nash]
  • Bright Minds for STEM 21st CCLC Program [Bladen]
  • Burnsville Recreation and Learning Center [Anson]
  • Cornerstone 21st Century Community Learning Center [Beaufort]
  • HCHS Summer Transition Program [Hertford]
  • Partners In Ministry [Scotland] 
  • STEAMed Up! [Washington]
  • Str8t Progress Afterschool [Lenoir]
  • The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club [Wilson]
  • Wired for Success [Halifax]
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