Junior League offers community grants

Every year, the Junior League of Greenwich (JLG) designates up to $5,000 of its funds to be awarded to one or more community organizations through its Community Grant Award.

The purpose of this grant is to provide financial support for and address a community need that is not being met by current JLG projects or programs. The grant is intended to fund new initiatives or expand programs and services relating to significant community needs, not subsidize existing programs.

The aggregate amount awarded will be up to $5,000. Applications are due Dec. 5. The requests will be reviewed and approved by the Junior League of Greenwich board of directors and presented in the spring of 2015. The grant application may be found on the Junior League of Greenwich website, Jlgreenwich.org.

Last year’s recipients were Greenwich Library and the YWCA. The Greenwich Library grant was used for a new venture, Next Chapter Book Club, which offers people with developmental disabilities the opportunity to read and learn together, talk about books and make friends in a relaxed community setting.

The book club will meet in local bookstores, cafés and similar gathering places to read aloud, discuss what they are learning and allow the participants to socialize with each other. The program was established at Ohio State in 2002 to provide adolescents and adults with developmental disabilities — regardless of reading ability — the chance to be a part of a book club. The program is run by a librarian and supported by volunteers from ABILIS.

The YWCA grant was used toward two newly launched services and two expanded services that all help save lives. The two new services are Banana Splits and Second Step: A Violence-Prevention Curriculum for Grade One. Banana Splits is a support group for at-risk children who are victims of domestic violence and have experienced parental divorce. The purpose is to provide a safe place to express feelings, to normalize feelings through sharing, to train children in problem solving and coping skills, to increase self-esteem through mutual help, and to support parents to work with their children and increase communication.

Second Step is a national curriculum, which the YWCA will pilot with first graders, that aims to reduce impulsive and aggressive behavior in children and to increase children’s levels of social competence by teaching skills in empathy, impulse control, and anger management. Because it targets skill deficits that put children at risk for violence, substance abuse, suicide, and dropping out of school, Second Step is a basic skills curriculum for prevention education.

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