As Indianapolis schools continue to transition to a virtual learning environment, the Indianapolis Public Library is making sure local young scholars have the tools necessary to thrive. In recent weeks, IndyPL staff and AmeriCorps volunteers assembled 2,000 preschool art kits and delivered them to local preschools, Head Start programs, and YMCA centers.
The kits were sponsored by the PNC Foundation with a grant to The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation. A limited quantity of the kits was sent to Library branches for families to take home.
“We packed everything up and drove them to every single IPS school that had a preschool facility so that every kid can take the kit home. It not only allows the kids to have fun with their parents, but the teachers who are teaching virtually know that their kids have watercolors and markers and that those can be incorporated in lessons,” said Shael Weidenbach, early literacy specialist with IndyPL. “If the Library can jump in and assist with providing materials to children that they may not have access to in order to enhance their ability to continue learning from home, that’s powerful.”
“During this challenging time, having additional resources at home can help parents and caregivers foster their child’s development,” said Connie Bond Stuart, PNC regional president for central and southern Indiana. “As advocates in promoting quality early childhood education through our PNC Grow Up Great® initiative, we understand the importance all this can have on the trajectory of a child’s success in school and life.”
The kits include art supplies and drawing utensils alongside tips for parents to help their children use these tools for learning. The organizations and families who received the kits have been thankful.
Theresa Shidler with Head Start said it was “the best thing to happen in 2020.” “Head Start relies on volunteers and donations to help us keep going each year. Our children are at 100% poverty level,” Shidler said. “Getting these supplies allows our teachers to add new things to their lesson plans, and new activities to our Home and School Connection calendars. Knowing that kits are being provided for all of our children was such a bright spot in a challenging year.”
About PNC Foundation
The PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group (www.pnc.com), actively supports organizations that provide services for the benefit of communities in which it has a significant presence. The foundation focuses its philanthropic mission on early childhood education and community and economic development, which includes the arts and culture. Through Grow Up Great, its signature cause that began in 2004, PNC has created a bilingual $500 million, multi-year initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life. For more information, visit here.
For more than 25 years, Americorps has helped millions of Americans improve their lives and the lives of their fellow citizens through service. Americorps works hand-in-hand with local partners to tap the ingenuity and can-do spirit of the American people to tackle our country's most pressing challenges related to education, health, energy and conservation, economic development, veterans and military families, and disaster services.
About The Indianapolis Public Library: The Indianapolis Public Library enriches lives and builds communities through lifelong learning. We strive to be a center of knowledge, community life, and innovation for Indianapolis.