Thursday, September 21, 2017

MBAs Team Up With Grace Place To Help SWFL Kids Avoid ‘Summer Slide’

grace place teaching kids how to read

“naplesGrace Place for Children and Families is a nonprofit education center committed to putting faith into action – providing pathways out of poverty by educating children and families. Working with the entire family, Grace Place currently enrolls over 800 individuals in its educational programs: School Age, Adult Education and the nationally recognized Bright Beginnings program. Although education is the core focus of the organization and its mission, the Friday Food Pantry serves over 220 families each week. In the past year, Grace Place provided more than 350,000 pounds of food, demonstrating the area’s need for nourishment, which is essential for effective learning.

During the summer, Grace Place offers a very special education program called the “Summer Kindergarten Readiness.” Summer Kindergarten Readiness focuses on ensuring that students maintain knowledge and skills that are key kindergarten readiness indicators, and further developing these skills during the eight-week summer term. The term “summer slide” refers to a child’s loss of academic knowledge that occurs over the course of summer break, which is most pronounced in families with low-income. Grace Place seeks to prevent “summer slide” by offering educational programs for children and families over summer break.

Grace Place does not sell goods or services, and relies solely on the generosity of others to fund the organization. The Grace Place Summer Slide campaign aims to generate donations that will fund the Summer Kindergarten Readiness program.

A group of students in the MBA programs at the University of Florida and Texas A&M recently approached Grace Place to partner up for the Google Online Marketing Challenge. As current MBA students, Grace Place joined forces with a number of students, including Southwest Florida local Domenic Tercero D’Agostino, Marco P. Zanelli, David Guzy, and Daniel Clenzi, to promote the Summer Slide campaign, and to reach out to potential donors.

“This opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of families with low-income in the Golden Gate area and increase investments for such an impactful organization was something that as a group we couldn’t wait to be a part of,” said D’Agostino. “Hopefully by the end of this Summer Slide campaign we will have helped Grace Place to be able to provide the incredible services they offer to the families and children in need.”

As a team they designed Google AdWords campaigns to increase traffic on the Summer Slide webpage, which they hope will lead to increased donations for the Summer Kindergarten Readiness program. If the campaign is successful, they could potentially provide the opportunity for multiple families to have access to the Summer Kindergarten Readiness program, thus avoiding the summer slide and ensuring that these students enter kindergarten prepared and on-level with their more affluent peers. Winning would also qualify them for the AdWords Social Impact Award, and a $15,000 donation for the families and children of Grace Place.

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