Entergy donates to College of Education

administrators pose

The recently elected mayor of Hammond made an appearance outside of The 
College of Education in honor of Southeastern being awarded
$22,500 from the Entergy Charitable Foundation Grant. This money will be
used to help  underprivileged children attend after school programs that may
be beneficial to their future academic careers. 
The Lion’s Roar / William Schmidt

Dr. Gerlinde Beckers, assistant professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning, was awarded $22,500 from the Entergy Charitable Foundation Grant on Friday morning to help underprivileged children attend after school programs. The grant is intended to support Project Learning in Our Neighborhood or referred to as Project LION. 

Project LION initially began through the non-profit Hammond Youth Education Alliance and was created to provide afterschool enrichment for children from underprivileged homes. 

In order to qualify for this fund, the education department had to go through an application process.

According to the Entergy website, “The goal of the Entergy Charitable Foundation (ECF) is to support initiatives that help create and sustain thriving communities. ECF has a special focus on low-income initiatives as well as educational and literacy programs.”

This project is neighborhood-based and housed at Hammond Westside Montessori School and St. Paul Lutheran Missionary Church. The cost per child who participates in this program can range from $5 to $30 a week, depending on family income. 

One of the current issues of young adolescents is the “opportunity gap” that they may experience before entering secondary schooling due to the lack finances their care-givers may have to allow them to participate in afterschool activities. 

The National Opportunity to Learn Campaign describes the opportunity gap as “the unconscionable disparity in access to the quality educational resources needed for all children to be academically successful.”

According to Beckers, one of the goals is to not only prepare teacher candidates for the “opportunity gap” that they will most likely encounter as certified teachers but also allow students after school enrichment activities that may provide them positive role models. The after-school program will also fill unoccupied time otherwise utilized for delinquent activities.

Project LION is made up of groups coming together for the first time to help children who lack the financial resources to attend after-school activities. 

“This is the pilot year, our first year doing this,” said Beckers. “This is a partnership through the Hammond Youth Education Alliance, Tangipahoa Parish School System and the city of Hammond. All these different agencies work together which is instrumental for the afterschool program.”

As part of the Quality Enhancement Plan, the College of Education will be using handpicked teacher-candidates to work with certified teachers. 

“We send our teacher-candidates to the after school program for ‘Real World Experience,’” said Beckers. “We in the college of education have done that (participate in the Quality Enhancement Plan) for years. We believe strongly in sending our teacher candidates out prior to teaching. We require 180 contact hours before you can student-teach, which is that ‘Real World Experience.’”