Providence Fund to Award Support Funds to Daemen Fruit Belt Partnership

Funds Supporting Daemen Fruit Belt Partnership Will Help Engage Daemen Students, Faculty, and Staff in Projects That Strengthen the Community


May 16, 2012 



Contact: Sharon Benz

                Program Coordinator

                Daemen College Center for Sustainable Communities &

                Civic Engagement

                (716) 839-8524



           The Providence Fund will award $10,000 for the Daemen College Fruit Belt Partnership.  The funds will be used for the Daemen College Center for Sustainable Community and Civic Engagement’s (CSCCE) after-school programs in the fall, 2012 and spring, 2013 semesters. The Providence grant funds the after-school program at the Aloma D. Johnson Fruit Belt Community Charter School throughout the academic school year. The grant also funds the summer language arts and theater camp, which is a collaboration of the CSCCE; The Thomas Reynolds Center for Special Education and After-School Programs; and the Daemen Department of Visual and Performing Arts.


           Funds from the award will also be used toward the English Language Arts (ELA) skills and Theater Summer Camp in 2013, ensuring that children from the Fruit Belt can participate.


           Camp participants will receive instruction from graduate assistants who tutor in CSCCE after-school programs done in partnership with the Reynolds Center. Camp participants will also work with the Daemen Visual & Performing Arts Department to enhance English Language Arts skills through exposure to theater instruction and performance. In addition, students will have the opportunity to perform at Musicalfare Theater, located on the Daemen campus.


           Through the Daemen College Fruit Belt Partnership, residents of that community receive services such as after-school programs; summer reading camps; event assistance; and workshops providing information on home ownership, credit counseling, and ‘greening’ and weatherizing of residences. 


           “The major goals of the summer camp are to promote positive attitudes about reading, and to provide a camp experience in an integrated setting” noted Daemen Center for Sustainable Communities and Civic Engagement Program Coordinator Sharon Benz. “The 2011 camp was a wonderful example of children getting along on an equal footing regardless of economic status.”


           A central goal of programming at The Thomas Reynolds Center is to improve struggling students’ educational performance, said Elizabeth R. Wright, J.D., M.S.W., Executive Director of the Reynolds Center.


           “The Reynolds Center strives to improve educational outcomes for both students at risk academically and students with disabilities,” Wright added. “Spotlight on ELA Performance is an innovative program, designed to strengthen students’ English Language Arts skills in conjunction with exposure to theater. The performance aspect of the program will work to strengthen a student’s comprehension of text while simultaneously building participant confidence. It is a lot of fun, which keeps the students motivated to learn.” 


           Since 2009, Daemen College service learning students have been contributing to reading, after-school, and other programs at Buffalo Public Schools Martin Luther King School (#39) and the Aloma D. Johnson Fruit Belt Community Charter School. 


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