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Community Solutions Wins $115,000 Grant to Serve Preteens

PALO ALTO – The Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health has awarded $115,000, over two years, to Community Solutions to re-establish an after-school program for preteens who live in the Lilly Gardens housing project in Gilroy.

Community Solutions, a human services agency that has served south Santa Clara County since 1972, will use the funds for a program in which 55 children will participate in arts and sports activities, receive homework assistance, work on computers and socialize.

“The program was supported by the state’s Juvenile Crime Prevention Program until its funding was cut from the state budget this summer,” said Lisa DeSilva, director of community and resource development at Community Solutions.

The grant also will help to launch a new parent education program that will provide support, skills and resources for overburdened parents of preteens, including those in the after-school program. Two-hour classes will be offered in English and Spanish over five weeks. Class topics include growth and development, discipline and boundaries, anger management and conflict resolution, and the risks of alcohol and drugs.

“This grant will enable us to reopen the after-school program in mid-January,” said DeSilva. “The support from the foundation is even more significant as we face impending cuts from the county and state due to the economic downturn. It is a true holiday gift to the community.”

The grant is one of 17 awards announced Dec. 18 by Stephen Peeps, foundation president and CEO.

The Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health makes grants in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties in two areas: protecting children ages 0 to 5 from injury, with an emphasis on preventing child abuse and neglect; and promoting behavioral, mental and emotional health in preteens.

The other Santa Clara County grantees and their awards are:

Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Santa Clara County, $75,000 over one year;

Bill Wilson Marriage and Family Counseling Center, $120,000 over three years;

Children’s Health Council, $200,000 over two years;

Community Foundation Silicon Valley (The Mayfair Improvement Initiative), $150,000 over two years;

Fresh Lifelines for Youth, $92,000 over three years; and

YWCA of Santa Clara Valley, $200,000 over two years.

The Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health makes community grants twice yearly. Funds for the grants program, which began in January 2000, comes from the foundation’s endowment. A partnership grant from the California Endowment helps support the foundation’s efforts in youth development and reducing high-risk behavior in preteens. To date, 60 agencies have received grants totaling $6.9 million from the foundation.

The foundation was established as a public charity in 1996, when the previously independent Lucile Salter Packard Children’s Hospital became part of Stanford University Medical Center. The foundation’s mission is to “promote, protect, and sustain the physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral health of children.” It is wholly independent of the Los Altos-based David and Lucile Packard Foundation. For more information about the foundation’s community grantmaking program, call (650) 736-0676, or visit the Web site,