SAFE BASE has received a $1.1 million Kansas Department of Education 21st Century Grant allowing Angela Henry, SAFE BASE director, to breathe easy for four more years.
The grant will fully fund the program for five years; meaning Henry won’t have to worry about the program’s survival for four more years.
SAFE BASE is a free afterschool and summer program for USD 257 elementary students. The program is in its 13th year and is funded by grants and donations.
When Henry was originally hired 13 years ago her contract was only for three years. She was told that she must find sustainability for the program. By the end of this grant’s life, in 2017, SAFE BASE will have been in operation 18 years.
“At the beginning of the program there were some concerns as to if we would come and go,” Henry said. “We didn’t. We came and stayed.”
This will be the fifth 21st Century Grant SAFE BASE has received. SAFE BASE has also received grants from Walmart, the Helen Gates Whitehead Trust, Bowlus Fine Arts Center, Thrive Allen County, Iola Elks, Iola Lions and Great Southern Bank. Funding from the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City, Henry says, is one of the main reasons why SAFE BASE has been able to survive the past couple of years when times have been tough economically.
This five-year grant will allow for a four- to five-week summer course, each summer.
Henry said she would also like to learn how to better write for federal grants.
“There is a difference between writing to survive and writing for additional programming opportunities,” Henry said.
A stipulation for the grant was that SAFE BASE have 40 percent of its students qualify for the free- and reduced-priced lunches, indicating child poverty. Seventy-five percent of SAFE BASE students qualified.
Henry has been able to calculate that in the past 13 years SAFE BASE has received more than $7 million in grants. A lot of that money, if not all, goes back into the community by paying the staff, buying supplies and other items, which are all bought locally.
The program’s longevity is confirmation the program is working. Henry said more than 20 surrounding districts have visited SAFE BASE to see how it operates.
EACH year SAFE BASE is split up in sections with different themes. Currently the students’ theme is the Wizard of Oz.
Henry is trying to get more “likes” on SAFE BASE’s Facebook page, so family and friends can stay up to date on their happenings. If they can reach 1,000 likes, the children will get a party.
Visit www.facebook.com/usd257safebase for more information.