Baylor receives $280,000 grant for summer program to help recove - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |


Baylor receives $280,000 grant for summer program to help recovery in West

WACO - Baylor University has received a $280,009 grant to establish a summer program that will give high school students a summer job while they help the rebuilding process in West.

The Corporation for National and Community Service grant will allow the Baylor Interdisciplinary Poverty Initiative and the city of West to establish an AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associates Program.

The grant will give recent high school graduates and other community volunteers from West a summer job while they help West move forward after the fertilizer plant explosion. The Insurance Council of Texas estimated the explosion caused more than $100 million dollars in damage to West.

As part of the grant, Baylor is now hiring 35 Summer Associates from West who are recent high school graduates or currently attending a college or university and plan to return to West for the summer.

Student projects will focus on education, health futures, capacity building and economic development, Rosemary W. Townsend, director of business affairs and community partnerships in Baylor’s Office of Community Engagement and Service said.

Possible projects could be creating a community garden, operating an afternoon youth camp, helping West ISD and the library, and helping the West Chamber of Commerce. Additional projects will be developed by the Summer Associates, based on the Forward West Community Plan report.

Students will work 40 hours a week from June 9 to Aug. 17, earning $928 per month, and each will be eligible for an additional education award of $1,175 at the program’s end, according to a release from Baylor.

“The VISTA Summer Associates program is a wonderful fit for West on a number of levels,” said Dr. Jan Hungate, chief administrative officer for West ISD. “Besides the fact that we now have a new summer employment opportunity for our graduates, the planned projects will require brainpower and ingenuity, and will create positive contributions to the community in this time of recovery and growth.”

A VISTA Leader and two full-time Summer VISTAs will supervise the summer associates and help implement the projects in West.

Townsend said there will be an event at the end of the summer to celebrate the contributions of the associates and volunteers helping West.
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