UE Awarded Grant for Summer Camp to Support ALICE Families

Posted: Tuesday, November 9, 2021

The University of Evansville's Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion was recently awarded a $90,000 grant to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. The grant was part of the COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund of the Greater Evansville Region, which provided $1 million to a total of six organizations in September. The purpose of these funds is to support non-profits that are reconceptualizing systems, environments, and pathways to create a more resilient region.

UE has created "Springboard,” a summer day program that seeks to address the preparation gap for under-resourced high school students before graduation. The program will include STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) curriculum, character development, and leadership training. Intracultural appreciation will also be fostered to improve intercultural competency. Through these efforts, Springboard will improve high school graduation rates as well as college readiness and admission for students from Black and African American ALICE families (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, and Employed).

“This grant is going to help us serve the underrepresented in our local community in a manner that is both effective and entertaining,” said Rob Shelby, PhD, chief diversity officer at UE. “By empowering each student who attends Springboard, we are paving the way for a successful future.”

Springboard is a collaborative project between UE and Black Lemonade, Inc., which is a non-profit organization “dedicated to turning sour conflict into sweet and powerful solutions.” Black Lemonade originally created a summer camp for grades K-8, but the grant will expand its reach to support students up to 12th grade.

"I'm so glad to share this vision of helping my community advance in ways that oftentimes weren’t discussed growing up,” said Kaymi Butler, who serves as founder and chief executive officer of Black Lemonade. “This vision, and more importantly its execution, is more than preparing a student for a future career. It's about instilling in them how to avoid the hate that is often associated with indifference. It's about teaching and showing love, letting go of the stereotypes, and purposefully meeting a person where they are."

The Springboard program will be spearheaded by both UE and Black Lemonade, but current students are developing the curriculum through a ChangeLab titled “Community Race Project.” ChangeLabs are semester-long courses in which students work in teams to tackle a local or regional issue and create positive change in the community. The Community Race Project will continue into the spring semester to further prepare for the camp.

Additional details for Springboard will be added to the UE website at a later date and can be found at evansville.edu/cdei.

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