Local Charter School Awarded $1 Million Grant from NFL
Although Super Bowl XLII will be played next month in Glendale, the financial effects are being felt throughout the Valley, including here in the South Mountain/Laveen area.
This month, Espiritu Community Development Corp., the organization behind the NFL Youth Education Town Academy, a charter school in South Phoenix, will receive $1 million as part of the Super Bowl XLII Legacy Grant. The funds will be used to launch Aim Higher, an early college transition program designed to help inspire 300 families to send their children to college.
On Jan. 31, National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell will be at the school – located at 4848 S. 2nd St. – to help celebrate “The Million Dollar Legacy.” The event begins at 4 p.m.
In 1996—the last year the Valley hosted the Super Bowl–grant funding from the NFL helped create Espiritu’s NFL YET Academy. Among the items financed with the first contribution was the school’s communications building. Twelve years later, new grant money will allow for expanded programming in the building, including participation from the public.
“In the last few years, we’ve been integrating the charter school programs – the language learning, leadership learning and the technology learning – with the schools we have,” said Espiritu’s Leticia Ruiz. “Now we want to expand and do that with low-income families in the five lowest income areas, so they can have that leadership development in their lives.”
Additional Aim Higher objectives include instilling a “culture of education” in Arizona’s most economically disadvantaged areas; providing information about financial education assistance; and partnering with other organizations, businesses, schools and faith-based groups to select participants and provide ongoing program support.
“The exciting times at the NFL YET Academy are carrying over into the South Phoenix community,” said Lisa Perez Bray, chairman of the South Mountain/Laveen Chamber of Commerce. “Not only will this grant enable the school to continue offering an alternative and progressive educational curriculum. The community now has an opportunity to get involved with the programming as well.”
As part of the Super Bowl XLII Community Impact Program, Espiritu is also involved with the Super Kids-Super Sharing Sports Equipment and Book Donation Project. Now in its seventh year, the program encourages schools to collect new or slightly used books and sporting equipment during the months leading up to the Super Bowl.
On Jan. 24, coordinators from all the schools involved throughout the Valley will bring donations to the NFL YET Academy. The collection runs from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Representatives from the NFL, Arizona Cardinals and the Super Bowl XLII Host Committee will be on hand to thank students and coordinators.
Once all the books and sporting equipment is collected, the items will be distributed to children in need.