Non-profit gets $26 million grant for after school programs at L.A. schools

The Youth Policy Institute, a local nonprofit that works with more than a dozen schools and hundreds of San Fernando Valley students, received a $26 million grant Tuesday for after-school programs at 21 Los Angeles schools. The money from the California Department of Education will benefit two Valley schools - Fenton ...The Youth Policy Institute, a local nonprofit that works with more than a dozen schools and hundreds of San Fernando Valley students, received a $26 million grant Tuesday for after-school programs at 21 Los Angeles schools.

The money from the California Department of Education will benefit two Valley schools - Fenton Avenue Charter School and Pacoima Charter Elementary - allocating more than $800,000 for intervention and enrichment programs on the campuses.

The grant comes as the institute expands its reach into 11 other Valley schools, including Monroe, Panorama and Sylmar high schools.

"This is a celebration of collaboration," said state schools chief Jack O'Connell, who presented the organization with its check on the steps of Pacoima Charter Elementary.

The Youth Policy Institute started its work providing services to schools in Pacoima more than 15 years ago. Since then, the nonprofit has gone from serving four schools to more than 56 across the city. The organization also runs two charter schools - Bert Corona Charter School in Pacoima and Monsenor Oscar Romero Charter Middle School in the Pico-Union area - and is the largest provider of after-school programs for charter campuses in the city.

Recent budget cuts have put pressure on nonprofits like the institute to provide additional services. Iris Zuniga-Corona, director of youth services for the Youth Policy Institute, said her organization believes it has a responsibility to fill those gaps. "We have to step up as partners and get creative," Zuniga-Corona said. "We need to fill in those gaps and figure out where we can add resources."

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