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PWR Community Foundation

Cover Sheet

Date of application: November 19, 2012

Name of Project:  Improving Health Habits of Burlington’s At-Risk Youth

Purpose of grant (one sentence): The purpose of the grant is to address Burlington community’s health challenges by improving PAYC’s athletic programs and supporting events encouraging healthier living.
Grant Amount Requested: $565.22 - $787.86

PWR Student/Course Contact Name: Brittany Wheatley

Contact Email Address: bwheatley2@elon.edu

Names of additional PWR or CUPID Students Involved: Chelsea Vollrath, Ashley Rose

 

Name of Community Partner: Positive Attitude Youth Center

Primary Client Contact Name: Latasha Watlington

Contact Telephone Number: (336) 222-6066
Contact Email Address: positiveattitude@att.net

Partner Mailing Address: 229 North Graham-Hopedale Road, Burlington, North Carolina.  

Is Partner an IRS 501(c)(3) not-for-profit? (yes or no): Yes
If no, please explain:

Connection to PWR or CUPID (one sentence): Partnering with a non-profit organization and helping them better serve the community is an act of civic service, an act which rhetoric students are obligated to partake in, considering social and civic responsibility is a foundation of the discipline.


DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Improving Health Habits of Burlington’s At-Risk Youth

Executive Summary

Childhood obesity is an epidemic in the United States, primarily impacting lower-income communities. A high-percentage of families in Burlington, North Carolina live under the federal poverty line, and a major community concern is how quality of life is maintained in a weaker economy. Two causes of childhood obesity are poor diet and limited access to recreational equipment; healthier food options and afterschool activities can be costly and inaccessible to families living on a short budget. Therefore, Burlington’s youth are susceptible to the development of unhealthy habits that lead to childhood obesity and related health problems that will negatively affect their quality of life. Positive Attitude Youth Center (PAYC) was founded to aid children and young-adults in maturing physically, emotionally and spiritually. Since 1995, PAYC has served Burlington’s youth by addressing community challenges, such as health awareness, through their programs.  

 

The organization’s various programs focus on the development of skills to aid in personal growth and healthy living. The afterschool program, offers tutoring and organized recreation for preschoolers through 10th grade, while the Positive Day School provides educational training and organized play for three- to five-year-olds. The Teen Achievers Programs teaches court-ordered juveniles and at-risk children skills to help them in their specific situation. A summer program is offered, as well, for children in preschool through 9th grade; the program offers educational enrichment and weekly field trips. PAYC also sponsors five basketball teams in the City of Burlington’s Youth Basketball league; children, PAYC members and nonmembers, between the ages of 5 and 15 can register to play. The recreational basketball league uses PAYC’s gym for its games, and PAYC sponsors a post-season basketball banquet to recognize the children’s participation and encourage future involvement. These programs support PAYC’s mission to increase health awareness by promoting nutrition and recreation in the Burlington community.

 

To continue adherence to their mission, PAYC’s overall goal is to improve community health. The objectives supporting this longtime goal include: improving the quality of the experience with PAYC’s health-based programs, encouraging development of healthy habits by PAYC participants and their families, and promoting future participation in PAYC’s health-based programs. While PAYC has already incorporated health awareness into its programs, quality equipment and supplies are necessary to maintain active community participation in healthy habits and PAYC’s programs. By improving the athletic equipment used by the sponsored basketball teams and their after-school programs, as well as serving healthier food at the post-season basketball banquet, will encourage the improvement of Burlington’s community health.

 

The proposed project (Improving Health Habits of Burlington’s At-Risk Youth) request a budget of $269.91 for new basketballs, $269.68 for athletic equipment, and $212.54 for food and drinks for the banquet. Project implementation and assessment will be under the guidance of Program Administrator Latasha Watlington. The effectiveness of having quality equipment will be assessed through an end-of-program focus group that discusses the individual health goals made following their beginning of the year health assessment, how their goals and healthy living habits have changed due to their newly accessible equipment. Healthy living habits will also be discussed at the banquet, and families will be surveyed on how the new equipment and healthier food options has changed their children’s outlook on healthy living.

 

These improvements will give the Burlington’s at-risk children the opportunity of a better quality experience with PAYC in the development of the health habits that they deserve.

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Improving Health Habits of Burlington’s At-Risk Youth

Project Overview (A)
       Of the 50,000 people who call Burlington, North Carolina home, 21.3% of this community lives in poverty

. With such a high percentage of impoverished residents, the prevalence of poor nutrition in both children and adults is pervasive. Affecting approximately 17% of American’s youth, childhood obesity is a plague of epidemic proportions strongly related to lower socioeconomic statuses, in which those in poverty are more likely to be affected. Organizations in Burlington, such as Positive Attitude Youth Center (PAYC), work to address health challenges, such as obesity, by incorporating health awareness and action within its program and participants.

Positive Attitude Youth Center, a faith-based based organization founded in 1995, serves Burlington community youths, some of whom are considered “at-risk” dues to residence in poverty stricken areas. The programs the organization offers are focused on personal growth and healthy living.The After School Program (preschool to 10th grade) and Positive Day School (three- to five-year-olds) provide educational training, tutoring and organized recreation for its members. The Teen Achievers Program is for court-ordered juveniles and at-risk children between 6th and 11th grade; the program provides training centered on skill development to aid with their individual circumstances. The Summer Club offers educational enrichment for students between preschool and 9th grade. In addition to these programs, PAYC sponsors five teams in the City of Burlington’s recreational youth basketball league with children who are both members and nonmembers. 

PAYC already has a strong presence the lives of Burlington’s youths and has been very instrumental in effecting them. The organization’s influence is powerful; they are will equipped to address the community’s health challenge of child obesity. This organization has committed themselves to a mission of improving health awareness by promoting nutrition and recreation in the services they already provide the city of Burlington. By promoting healthy living in the services they already provide, PAYC believes they will to meet their goal of improving overall community health. PAYC plans to meet the following objectives:

    • Objective 1: Improve the quality of the experience with PAYC’s health-based programs. By replacing the worn equipment currently used by the basketball teams and in the afterschool program, PAYC members will have access to resources that strengthen the PAYC programs. 
    • Objective 2: Encourage development of healthy habits within PAYC participants and their families. The improvements made to PAYC’s existing programs by purchasing new equipment excite involvement and active participation, which foster long-term interest in healthy living. The basketball banquet’s healthier menu sets an example of affordable and healthy food options that are accessible to families within the Burlington community. 
    • Objective 3: Promote future participation in PAYC’s health-based programs. The programs’ resource updates maintain interest of PAYC members and spark interest in those currently unaffiliated with the program.  The program’s equipment improvements, in addition to the more health-conscious banquet menu, contribute to PAYC’s positive image within the community. 

These objectives will be achieved through the funding of the proposed project, Improving Health Habits of Burlington’s At-Risk Youth.

       To serve their mission, PAYC incorporates physical education into its afterschool program and facilitates a basketball league for the community. PAYC promotes healthy behavior at a young age with the intent that the children will incorporate these lessons into their lives and continue healthy practices beyond the time of program involvement. The project, Improving Health Habits of Burlington’s At-Risk Youth, requests funding to improve the afterschool program and basketball league by updating equipment. The organization is asking for $269.91 for new basketballs for the five basketball teams they sponsor and $269.68 for trampolines, field markers, and hula hoops for the physical activity component of the afterschool program. PAYC also requests funding to support their end-of-season basketball banquet, hosted to recognize and congratulate the players for participation and athletic successes.  The organization is asking for $212.54 to buy salad, salad dressing, spaghetti, spaghetti sauce, and drinks for the 200 expected guests.  These improvements will give the children participating in PAYC’s programs a better quality experience while working on developing health habits that they deserve. 

Prevalence of Poor Health Habits in At-Risk Youth (B)

In developing countries, low income is traditionally correlated to being underweight, yet in North America, there is an association with low income and obesity.  The Children’s Defense Fund, an organization that advocates for children of America, studied obesity in American children and found that nearly 45 percent of obese children, ages 10 to 17, live below the federal poverty level

,which supports the claims of an association between obesity and socioeconomic status.
       Two factors contributing to the prevalence of obesity in lower-income youth are poor diet and limited access to physical activities. A study conducted by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management pointed out that lower-income families do not have easy access to higher-quality, healthy food due to their more expensive nature. Lower-income families also have limited access to physical activity resources, such as athletic supplies and a safe facility in which to practice physical activity. The physical activity resources that are available to lower-income families are often not attractive and unsafe, discouraging their use and contributing to the prevalence of unhealthy-lifestyles in those communities. Many children attending PAYC’s programs are victims of these conditions associated with lower socio-economic status. 

Currently, the majority of basketballs used by PAYC are second-hand, given to the organization by local high schools. The longevity and performance of these hand-me-down balls is questionable as their worn quality makes the balls more susceptible to deflation and puncture. The PAYC served youths deserves higher-quality and more reliable equipment as they work towards improving their physical health. The trampolines, hula-hoops, and field markers were purchased by PAYC, but the organization has not been able to replace these items recently, so their longevity and performance are also in question.

In order to prevent children from developing diet- and activity-related diseases later on in life, physical activity must become a national priority. The Prevention Institute, a national non-profit organization dedicated to improving community health and equity, has identified youth sport and recreation programs as key community-focused strategies to address the need for physical activity among young people

. Recognizing the impact of recreation programs on a community’s need to encourage engagement in physical activity, PAYC has become actively involved in integrating organized recreation into the programs they offer Burlington’s youth.

PAYC Addressing Poor Health Habits in At-Risk Youth (C)
       The Positive Attitude Youth Center recognizes the needs in the community it serves, and has actively been trying to address them through the programs they already offer. PAYC addresses dietary concerns by providing healthy snacks to children participating in its afterschool program. The physical component of the afterschool program addresses the concerns of limited physical activity in at-risk youth. PAYC reaches out beyond its programs’ participants to address the health challenges in the community overall; the organization sponsors five Burlington basketball league teams: Biddy, for 5 to 6 year olds; Pee Wee, for 7 to 8 year olds; Mites, 9 to 10 year olds; Midget, 11 to 12 year olds; and Intermediate, 13 to 14 year olds.
       With donations declining in recent years due to the economic downturn, funds otherwise used to support the existing programs have been allocated to finance more pressing matters, including scholarship, snacks and overhead costs.
 These costs must be prioritized because they have a significant impact on the children’s lives and involvement in the organization. Without funding for scholarship, some children could not participate in PAYC’s programs. Snacks are provided to children attending the afterschool program and may be the only healthy food the children eat every day, other than the food that is provided at school. The overhead costs keep the program running and are therefore crucial. 

As a result of the limitations in funding, athletic equipment used in the afterschool program and for the basketball teams is infrequently updated. The children are subjected to using worn equipment that would have ordinarily been replaced. PAYC fears that children will be discouraged by the poor quality of physical activity resources offered, as that attitude has been noted in studies of lower-income families with access to such resources. Due to irregular funding, the quality of PAYC’s annual post-season basketball banquet has also been compromised. PAYC has been limited to serving inexpensive food, which often compromises nutritional value. In order improve the quality of their programs, PAYC requests funding to update equipment used in their programs and supply healthy food and drinks for the basketball banquet.
Plan to Encourage Healthy Habits
       PAYC is taking a proactive stance on reducing obesity in youth from low-income families. The organization plans to improve their existing physical-education-based programs by updating equipment. PAYC will provide the five Burlington recreational basketball teams it sponsors with new basketballs. The new basketballs will be used exclusively for the basketball league and not for both the league and the afterschool program, as is currently the case. By using the basketballs only for the league, PAYC will preserve the quality of the basketballs for the program that has a stronger incentive for them to be in better condition.  

PAYC will also provide its afterschool program with new athletic equipment, including trampolines, cones and hula-hoops. The afterschool program integrates life training that includes physical activity, recreation, and nutrition. Receiving funding to purchase new athletic equipment would enhance the children’s’ healthy-living education.

In addition, the organization will continue to promote healthy habits by hosting the annual post-season basketball banquet, which recognizes participation in PAYC’s sponsored basketball teams. This year will mark a change in the menu from hotdogs and chili to wheat spaghetti with tomato sauce and salad. In the past, the organization has served hotdogs and chili because they are inexpensive; however, in keeping with their mission, PAYC is leading its members to making better food choices by serving a healthier alternative at the banquet. Funding from this grant would allow PAYC to provide the healthier meal to the banquet attendees, despite the slightly higher cost. These actions serve PAYC’s mission to address and incorporate health awareness, nutrition, and recreation into the services they already provide the city of Burlington.
       The proposed project is divided into three segments to accommodate the different programs addressing the need: basketballs for the community leagues, athletic equipment for the afterschool program, and banquet expenses. These segments of the project are being prioritized as listed. Therefore, if PAYC receives funding from this grant but it is not enough to fund the ideal budget, the needs will be met in the priority order they are listed in.
       To carry out these plans, PAYC will purchase the basketballs, hula-hoops, trampolines, and field markers in December. Afterschool program members will write health goals related to this new equipment upon introduction, which will be used in the focus group assessment (as indicated in Assessment (H)) conducted at the end of the program. In February, the menu items for the annual post-season basketball banquet will be purchased. A survey inquiring how participants and their families review the change in equipment and healthier menu choices will be distributed and recollected at the end of the banquet. The project, overseen by PAYC staff and coordinated by Program Administrator Latasha Watlington, will be implemented only on a one-time basis; the purpose of replacing the athletic equipment is to provide the program with materials that will be long lasting.

Budget (D)
       The requested budget is broken into three needs: basketballs for the City of Burlington Youth Basketball teams, athletic equipment for the afterschool programs, and food supplies for the annual post-season basketball banquet. PAYC requests funding to purchase 10 basketballs, which would supply each of the five teams they sponsor with two basketballs.  Half of the basketballs will be 28.5 inches to accommodate the younger and smaller children participating. The remaining half will be the standard size: 29.5 inches. 

PAYC is also asking for funding to purchase 2 mini trampolines, 24 hula hoops and 36 dome cones; these updates to their equipment support and sustains the sustain physical education of the 45 children currently participating in the afterschool program. These items were selected by PAYC based on a review of current equipment and interest in expanding supplies. Two sizes of hula hoops are requested to accommodate the age and size of members. 

PAYC is requesting additional funding to pay for the food and drinks served to 200 guests at the basketball banquet. For the 200 guests, PAYC will supply salad with Italian salad dressing, wheat spaghetti with tomato sauce, and powdered lemonade and iced tea, which will be prepared and served in the program’s water coolers.  The children’s families graciously bring paper products, utensils, side dishes, and dessert; therefore, PAYC is only responsible for the food and beverages.

When selecting the items to be purchased with this grant, PAYC is striving to provide high-quality items at a low cost. Dick’s Sporting Goods is an athletic equipment corporation that sells high-quality products; one of their locations is in Burlington, NC. The corporation is vocal about its enthusiasm for and commitment to youth sports; the Burlington store’s manager, Mark Johnson, agreed to honor a 10% discount to PAYC at the time of purchase. The basketballs and field markers are in the Burlington store, so the costs are based on the listed prices, minus the 10% discount. The mini trampolines are not in stock in the Burlington store, so they will have to be ordered online.  The cost mini trampolines is based on pricing listed on Dicks’ Sporting Goods website (See Appendix A), and the cost for the hula hoops is based on pricing listed on Amazon.com (See Appendix B). The cost for salad, Italian salad dressing, spaghetti, tomato sauce, iced tea, and lemonade is based on pricing at the local Walmart. 

The cost of food and drinks is eliminated in the second budget in the instance that the program is not awarded the amount of money requested in the ideal budget. The basketballs and athletic equipment, which more directly address the program’s mission to improve health habits, are currently priority. The PWR students partnering with PAYC agreed to make the items purchases so the organization is not responsible for any additional administrative costs. The students will ensure they order the items online with enough time so they can take advantage of the free 5-8 day shipping offered by Dick’s and Amazon.

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.
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Evidence of Partnership (E)
       Three Professional Writing and Rhetoric students collaborated with PAYC to complete this grant application. Meeting with the organization’s founder and program administrator and conducting research on the program and the community challenges it addresses have fostered the students’ partnership with the organization. The student’s interaction with the organization’s leaders has allowed the students to develop a strong understanding of the organization’s community involvement.
       Success in PAYC’s mission to promote health awareness by encouraging nutrition and recreation in the services they already provide the city of Burlington is not only dependent on improvements in the programs. The community must be aware of the programs and interested in participating in order for the organization to be effective. Using the information they have acquired and their experience working with design programs, including Adobe Indesign, Adobe Illustrator, and Photoshop, the students have created marketing and promotional flyer that discuss PAYC’s programs and how they are addressing their health-related mission (See Appendix C and D). The document was created under the direction of Ms. Watlington, the program administrator.
Evidence of Connection to Foundation Goals (F)

       The PWR Community Foundation describes rhetoric as a discipline that is grounded in social and civic responsibility. As students of rhetoric, the students working in partnership with PAYC are adhering to the definition of rhetoric as defined by the PWR Community Foundation. The Improving Health Habits of Burlington’s At-Risk Youth project is directly engaged in the development and support of the Positive Attitude Youth Center’s mission is to reach out to young children and young adults in the Burlington community to help them mature physically, spiritually and emotionally. The students are practicing social and civic responsibility by offering their services to the organization and, by extension, the community through working on this project. 

       The project is focused on doing just what its title describes: improving the health habits of Burlington’s at-risk youth. Increasing the quality of PAYC’s equipment for the physical education and recreational programs serves the PWR Community Foundation’s goal to improve non-profit organization’s existing programs so the organization is able to better serve the community. While funding the afterschool and basketball leagues through purchasing new equipment meets the foundation’s mission of improving non-profits in the area, funding the end-of-season basketball banquet through purchasing food and drinks served at the banquet meets the foundation’s mission of supporting said non-profits.  These improvements along with the post-season basketball banquet will not only create a sense community among those involved but will also promote the name of PAYC and therefore alleviate any challenges they have faced in communicating their mission to the Burlington community.
Benefits (G)
       Receiving this grant will allow PAYC to improve their services so they are able to better serve the Burlington community. Providing safe and updated equipment to both the afterschool program and basketball league allows the PAYC to better support their organizational mission to address health concerns by promoting health awareness, nutrition and recreation, which benefits the youth and families they serve. 

This year, 50 children participating in the basketball program and approximately 45 children participating in the afterschool program; these 95 children will benefit directly from immediate access to the new basketballs, trampolines, hula-hoops, and field markers.  The new equipment will provide the children will increase the reliability of the equipment and will be more appealing. As a result, the quality of the experience children are having with PAYC will improve, therefore exciting more engaged participation. Children participating in both programs over the next few years will continue to reap the benefits of the updated equipment, as it should all be long-lasting. 

These benefits will affect children in years beyond their involvement as program improvement supports PAYC’s mission to encourage the development of healthier habits to live by in the future. By extension, the community as a whole will benefit by the youth’s increased health awareness and consciousness.

       Financing high-quality sports equipment enables PAYC to save money in the long term. Overall, higher-quality equipment lasts longer than lesser-quality. Though it may be more expensive, the investment is worth it. Buying the cheapest hula-hoops, trampolines, and field markers may save money in the short term, but that cheaper equipment will need to be replaced more often, thereby making it a more expensive choice in the long run. As a nonprofit organization without consistent streams of funding, it is understandable that PAYC may not be able to commit in the short term to buying the more expensive items. However, with the help of this grant, the organization will be able to purchase the more expensive equipment that will not need to be replaced as frequently as its less expensive counterparts. 

       Because basketballs are donated by high schools, the cost of new basketballs is not an expense typically covered by PAYC. Though the cost may not traditionally be a concern, the quality of the children’s experiences is, so it is noteworthy that by reserving the new basketballs for the recreational teams, the basketball’s longevity will be preserved. Therefore, they will last even longer.

       The long-run funds saved from purchasing longer lasting items can then be used to support other organizational expenses and services, thus enhancing the organization’s ability to function and serve the community. New equipment supports PAYC’s interest in maintaining their services to the community, as does PAYC’s basketball banquet, which celebrates the kids and families that participated in the recreational teams. When an organization shows that it cares about the community, the community becomes interested and involved; therefore, these efforts encourage future participation from families in the organization. By extension, PAYC becomes a more successful organization by increasing the community’s motivation and participation in their service programs.
       Though PWR students may not directly benefit from PAYC’s receiving the grant, being involved in the process of writing the proposal gives them the opportunity to practice rhetorical skills and thereby increases their understanding of rhetoric and its application in the real world. Their involvement facilitates interaction with the community that has a positive impact. It also gives them the opportunity to learn from the community partner they are working with who has been successful in writing grant proposals in the past.
Assessment (H)
       The Burlington community’s youth benefit through the supplies PAYC makes available in their programs. This effectiveness can be measured at the end of the afterschool program with a focus group and a family survey at the post-season basketball banquet.

       The afterschool program requests equipment that is fundamental in conducting the athletic program, teaching that physical health can be interesting and fun through games and competitions. The items selected will also be used by the children when they develop individual health goals, resulting from the health assessment conducted early in the school year. As with the physical education curriculum is the community schools, PAYC conducts a health assessment and exit test at the beginning and end of its end of the afterschool program. The introduction of new material in the middle of the program should show an increase in activity and physical ability, which can be assessed through the comparison of the test. In addition, comparing health assessment results from the year before with the 2012-2013 results will show how new equipment has affected the program over a span of time. An increase of activity shows an improvement in the quality of members experience with PAYC’s health-based programs and the development of healthy habits. Following the exit test, a focus group will be conducted with the members. PAYC staff and volunteers will ask the children how athletic equipment and the health lessons they’ve gained in the year have impacted their lives. This assesses not only what equipment the children favor but acts as an opportunity to reinforce the healthy habits gained from the program; thereby returning to the completion of this project’s objectives.

       The post-season basketball banquet rewards the achievements of the children who played on the City of Burlington’s Youth Basketball league; by offering an entertaining experience to families who are and are not affiliated with PAYC, the organization is able to promote future participation in its health-based programs. Each family will be given a survey that inquires about their experience with the basketball team, their knowledge of PAYC and any notable effectiveness due to updated equipment. As this year will also mark a change in the banquet menu to a healthier option, the survey will ask families how they feel about this change and if they would like to see changes like this to continue.

Conclusion

       The Positive Attitude Youth Center has been serving Burlington’s youth for nearly twenty years; the organization strives to help Burlington’s youth realize their potential. Part of helping the children realize their potential is teaching them how to live healthier. This project aids PAYC in addressing Burlington’s health challenges by improving health awareness. These children have a lot of obstacles to overcome living in an at-risk community. Improving the programs they participate in is an easy way to improve their lives that they deserve.

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.