Finding Inspiration

By Diane Ross, M.Ed., Realityworks Senior Field Account Manager for NC, SC, VA, WV

I attended the NC WORKS Conference last month and walked away truly inspired.  I work in sales for Realityworks and keeping a pipeline of customers is essential for company survival.  Inspiration comes from seeing students become successful in life as a result of our products.

NC WORKS is not really focused on just finding jobs for people, but that is a GOOD thing.  They are focused on preparing people for well-paying careers and they have a great plan in place.  The pipeline starts with Career and Technical Education Directors looking at middle school, where kids explore careers suited to their intellect, their interest and their lifestyles.  That pipeline extends to high school, where students begin to make career choices, such as healthcare, or welding, or electrical trades, for instance.

Students choose a life career pathway that leads them to a certification, such as Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).  But, the NC WORKS group does not want the student to stop there.  They want the student to get that certification as a step into post-secondary, where the community college might take the student from CNA into an allied health field, such as respiratory therapy.

The goal is to get a student highly skilled so that they can best support themselves (salary) in their communities. That salary amount depends on where they choose to live, such as the higher end for areas like Charlotte and maybe less for more rural areas.

The bottom line here is the planning that goes into making sure we are pointing students toward careers that will allow them to live and prosper, create and support their families and be productive citizens.

The good news is that the products that my company is offering align directly in the pathways laid out by the NC WORKS commission.  Our products allow students to experience workplace skills, such as geriatric nursing, welding or electrical trades in a safe environment and allows a student to find out early if they are well-suited for this line of profession.  That makes me feel good.

This is a big charge to take on especially with and this month’s proposed Presidential Budget.  It is aimed at cutting Career and Technical Education funding by a national average of 15%, this certainly won’t help this initiative.  In North Carolina alone, according to ACTE, the state could lose 28% of federal funding under the President’s proposed budget.

Let’s hope they keep working on that budget and keep education in focus.

July Grant of the Month: The Kids In Need Foundation

By Denise Bodart, Realityworks RealCare Baby Product Manager

KidsInNeed-MainLogoContinuing our monthly “Grant of the Month” series (click here to read June’s post), we are choosing this month to highlight a grant found using the Kids In Need Foundation. These posts are intended to help our customers connect with funding sources. Many of these sources are found by conducting simple internet searches for grants. Just remember: Realityworks does not endorse nor have any connection with this foundation or grant; we are simply passing along funding information that we have found that may be beneficial to customers searching for funding that could be used to purchase our products.

This month’s grant was uncovered using our grant database search tool. The Kids In Need Foundation awards between 300-600 awards annually directly to classroom teachers for up to $500. Realityworks’ Total Parenting Experience program falls within the “program funded” areas of health/physical education and technology.

Below is the actual database entry for this grant:

Teacher Grants from The Kids In Need Foundation
Kids In Need Teacher Grants provide K-12 educators with funding to provide innovative learning opportunities for their students. The Kids In Need Foundation helps to engage students in the learning process by supporting our most creative and important educational resource our nation’s teachers. All certified K-12 teachers in the U.S. are eligible.

  • States: All States
  • Average Amount: $100.00 – $500.00
  • Address: 3055 Kettering Boulevard, Suite 119, Dayton, OH 45439
  • Telephone: 877-296-1231
  • Email: pennyh@kinf.org
  • Website: click here
  • Eligibility: Public School, Private School
  • Program Funded: Arts, ESL/Bilingual/Foreign Language, General Education, Health/PE, Math, Reading, Science/Environmental, Social Studies, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), Technology
  • Deadline to Apply: 9/30/2014

Selection is based on innovativeness and merit, clarity of objectives, replication feasibility, suitability of evaluation methods, and cost effectiveness. This grant would be a great fit for teachers who are using RealCare Baby and other products in a creative way in the classroom. Please be sure to read the fine print in the grant guidelines and suggestions. This grant does NOT fund the purchase of pre-packaged lesson plans. It can be used to purchase supplies, materials or technology that are used in a new and creative way.
They look for projects that “engage students in hands-on activities that lead to acquisition of new knowledge, awareness or self-discovery.” This seems like a good match for the experiential learning products that Realityworks has.

Do you have any advice regarding the discovery of educational grants? Share them in the comments below!

 

Federal Pregnancy Prevention Program Funding Extended

MilwaukeeCaseStudy-2With National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month of May just around the corner, the Senate made a timely decision this week to grant one-year extensions to federal pregnancy prevention program funding streams. The President signed the bill, H.R. 4302, into law on April 1, 2014.

The funding streams that were granted a one-year extension are The Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) and the Title V State Abstinence Education Program. The Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program received a six month-only extension.

Financial support from federal sources can have a great impact on reducing the number of unplanned teen pregnancies in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced that the teen birth rate had dropped to an historic low for 2012. The teen birth rate now stands at approximately half of its 1991 rate.

The progress is significant but the work still remains. Teen births in the United States still exceed those in other comparable countries. For a detailed look at the impact of teen pregnancy in the United States and in your state, go to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy website here.

Realityworks has resources that can be used to help prevent teen pregnancies. Our sex education program and the standards-based curricula that accompanies it – “Life Skills and Healthy Choices for Middle School Students” and “Healthy Choices – Relationships, Sexuality and Family Planning” for high school students – are both customizable. They are also “abstinence-plus,” and include lessons on the benefits of abstinence yet address all of the topics you’d expect to find in a comprehensive sex education program. For more information, click here!

Financing Your Total Parenting Experience Program: How our Funding Center Can Help

Funding your Total Parenting Experience (TPE) program can be a challenge. Many times funding from the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act is split among many recipients or rotated yearly by department – leaving you with either a small slice of the “Perkins pie,” or no slice at all. When that happens, foundations and corporations may be a good alternative source of funding to consider.

Finding corporations or foundations that offer grants for programs like TPE can be done in several ways. The first option is to conduct online searches using criteria like “foundation” and “grants” along with “pregnancy prevention” or “parenting.” Another option is to contact local corporations and ask if they have a foundation or charitable giving committee that may be willing to partner with you.

You can also go to websites that aggregate grant and funding information such as:

Or, you may want to spend some time browsing our online Funding Center, which includes a searchable grants database. This database offers a list of state-specific grants and other funding opportunities for a variety of related topics:

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Following the links to the individual websites will reveal further information on those specific grants. For instance, the Hearst Foundations fund direct-service organizations that tackle the roots of chronic poverty by applying effective solutions to the most challenging social and economic problems. They prioritize supporting programs that have proven successful in facilitating economic independence and in strengthening families. Preference is also given to programs with the potential to scale productive practices in order to reach more people in need. Since the TPE program addresses the social problem of teen pregnancy and school dropout rates, it may be worth contacting this foundation to see if your program could apply for their grants.

The following foundation was revealed after searching under human services and health education, two organizations that utilize RealCare Baby and related products in a variety of settings. Because of this, it may be advantageous to contact foundations that support these types of activities:

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In addition to grants, our Funding Center is a great place to explore school funding options like capital equipment funds and operating funds; get information on fundraising, sponsorship and donation opportunities; and research Parent Teacher Associations and other organizations. Click here to begin exploring!