As YMCA Teen Achievers kick off their annual college tour, the program has received a $75,000 grant from the Orlando Magic Youth Fund (OMYF), a McCormick Foundation Fund, in support of college and career readiness among at-risk teens.
The grant will be used to expand YMCA Teen Achiever programs for students who live in Orlando’s Holden Heights neighborhood and attend Jones High School or Memorial Middle School. The OMYF has generously supported YMCA Teen Achievers for many years and this year’s grant represents a $25,000 increase over last year.
By providing extra mentoring, academic support, enrichment, and college and career preparation, YMCA Teen Achiever has helped nearly 12,000 at-risk students achieve their college and career dreams. Fully 90% of Teen Achievers go on to earn college degrees, gain career certifications or join the military.
“The YMCA of Central Florida is deeply grateful to the Orlando Magic Youth Fund and the McCormick Foundation Fund for this generous grant,” said Shannon Matthews, YMCA Vice President of Youth Development and Education Initiatives. “Through this support, YMCA Teen Achievers will be able to impact the lives of even more young people, many of whom will become the first ones in their families to attend college and attain a successful career.”
Teen Achievers is just one in a portfolio of innovative Y of Central Florida Youth Development programs that help children and teens learn, grow and thrive at every stage of development. With a focus on values, reading, wellness and strengthening families, the Y is improving kindergarten readiness, elementary reading scores, middle school achievement, summer learning and high school graduation rates.
Over the years, the Orlando Magic and Orlando Magic Youth Fund have invested more than $216,900 in support of the Y’s cause and mission. Through sports clinics, coaching support, volunteerism and special events, the Magic are also the preferred partner of the Y’s Youth Basketball program, which instills values, character and sportsmanship in more than 10,000 kids per year.
The Y Teen Achievers grant was announced during a Feb. 9 ceremony at the Amway Center themed around the NBA draft. In all, $1 million was awarded to 17 local nonprofits, bringing the Magic’s total contribution to local nonprofits to $22 million over the past 27 years.
During the presentation, Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins said that OMYF grants and funding have improved the lives of more than 2 million children.
“There are so many great organizations that are doing such great work and over the course of 27 years we’ve contributed, through the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation, to more than 500 local organizations,” Martins said. “We need them to prepare our youth for a better future.”