symphony camp

Golden Isles Youth Orchestra first chair, first violin Brianna Milks, left, and first chair, second violin Olivia Zantow practice during ensemble rehearsal at last summer’s GIYO summer camp at the College of Coastal Georgia.

The Communities of Coastal Georgia Foundation recently awarded more than $111,000 in grants to 24 local organizations that work directly with the community’s most vulnerable populations.

The foundation awarded a record total of $111,408 through the Coastal Georgia Foundation’s Community Impact competitive grants initiative. The organizations that received grants provide critical services to at-risk youth and their families.

Grant recipients include Coastal Georgia Area Community Action Authority, which received $5,000 to support its Community Action Youth Leadership Initiative (CAYLI). The grant will fund an annual program in which CAYLI’s participants take part in a three-day United Nations simulation in Atlanta.

“They are among students from across the state of Georgia,” said Zerik Samples, chief development officer for Coastal Georgia Area Community Action Authority. “Some are on the same level, and most are your Advanced Placement students, so it gives them the opportunity to learn from their peers.”

The CAYLI program is part of Community Action Authority’s two-generational approach to addressing local poverty, Samples said. The United Nations program helps the students broaden their horizons and experience places outside of Brunswick.

“We’re so grateful to the Community Foundation for allowing us to make a true impact on our youth,” he said.

The Golden Isles Youth Orchestra received $4,400 for an expansion of its “String On” program, which introduces students to strings. The grant will support the program for fifth graders at Sterling Elementary School and a partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Georgia to offer lessons at the center located at Jane Macon Middle School.

“We had always wanted to do a program with the Boys & Girls Club,” said JoAnn Davis, chair of GIYO’s musician development committee. “… It’s our plan to offer after-school strings way out there on McKenzie Drive as part of Boys & Girls Club.”

The youth orchestra programs set students on paths to success, Davis said, and GIYO aims to provide opportunities for local students of all backgrounds by removing cost barriers.

“We statistically match demographically, economically and racially with the school population in Glynn County,” Davis said. “… The higher you get, the more expensive it becomes. And we pretty much pay for everything.”

Other grant recipients this year include the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Georgia, CASA, Children in Action Sports Club, Coastal Coalition for Children, Coastal Outreach Soccer, Communities in Schools, the Gathering Place, Girls on the Run, Glynn County Juvenile Court, Golden Isles Arts and Humanities, Methodist Home for Children and Youth in St. Marys, Morningstar Children and Family Services, Safe Harbor Children’s Center, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Darien, Social Opportunities & Action Recreation (SOAR) and the STAR Foundation.

First-time recipients this year were Foster Love Ministries, Glynn Visual Arts, Hope 1312 Collective, House of Hope, Pound 4 Pound Kids Fitness and Thornwell in St. Marys.

This represents the largest number and highest total of grants in the Communities of Coastal Georgia Foundation’s history during the annual competitive grant-making program.

“Our Community Impact Committee identified far more worthy grant recipients providing critical services than our budget could support. For the third year in a row, we turned to our fund holders to help us make up the difference,” said Paul White, president and CEO of the Coastal Georgia Foundation, in a press release. “This is just one of the many ways the Coastal Georgia Foundation works with the community to solve problems.”

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