Learning Lab is doing terrific work with the support of GBRF

 

 

What would your life be like if you could not read this post, not read a book, or could not even read a street sign? This status of functional illiteracy would make your life frustrating and severely limited.

 

 

 

                                        Olga is a refugee from Congo and                                            came to the US in 2012. She knew                                           learning English was imperative and attended Learning Lab’s outreach class at Davis Park Apartments. She continued with the classes as well as completing a refugee childcare business development program. She then opened a daycare, and now manages a prosperous farm through Global Gardens.

 

Learning Lab, in Garden City, helps educate adults and families to make their lives better. Their mission is to transform the lives of adults and families through personalized education – and that is what they do every day. Their goal is to help people improve their literacy skills so that they can further their education, get a job, help their family and fully engage in the community.

 

Prior to COVID all of their classes were in person. Students would come to class and work with tutors on lessons created just for them. Though students came from diverse places and background and had varying levels of literacy skills, they came together as a community in the classroom and collaboratively worked to improve their lives.


 

Then came COVID and things had to change. Safely meeting the needs of their students and retaining that sense of community was of primary importance. By using Zoom, Facebook, phone calls, texts and emails, classes were able to continue. The Learning Lab early childhood team delivered literacy kits to families. In the end, they did whatever was needed to do to keep their students learning.

 

 


                                                                 After being                                                                                   homeless  and                                                                             struggling with                                                                              addiction, Kathleen turned her life around, sought treatment and started therapy. She became such a valuable coach and role model in her treatment program that she was asked to mentor others. Her goal was to become a Peer Support Specialist – but first she needed to earn her GED.


 

This is where learning Lab came in. Kathleen had been home-schooled by her mother until about 8th grade and had never attended a regular school. Lila, at Learning Lab, eased her concerns and assured her that, with hard work, she could achieve her goal. Working 1:1 with her tutors, she earned her GED and is now a Certified Peer Support Specialist.


Learning Lab has been in the Boise community, for almost 30 years, adapting their classes to meet the need of their students. Their website can be found at www.learninglabinc.org

 

GBRF applauds Learning Lab for engaging the refugee community and providing opportunities for all to become productive and contributing members of the Treasure Valley Community.

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GBRF supports Life’s Kitchen

 

 

The Greater Boise Rotary Foundation awarded a grant of $22,000 to Life’s Kitchen in 2018 and a grant of $7,500 in 2019. The funds were used for equipment for food                                                  preparations. While presenting the                                              $22,000 check, GBRF Board of Directors                                      were invited to a Board Meeting of Life’s                                      Kitchen. Their guest speaker was a young                                    woman, in the program. Before she was                                      introduced, the attendees got a little                                             background on the student and learned that before entering the program, her self-esteem was so low that she found it difficult to talk to anyone in the program.

 


 

She entered the boardroom with a purpose and an air of someone who wanted to tell us her story. From the first sentence of her presentation to the end, we were riveted. She told us of her life before Life’s Kitchen. She had dropped out of school, just hanging around with her friends all day, with no goals for her life. She was getting into trouble and had dealings with the police and headed down a path toward incarceration. Now, after being in the program, she is headed toward a career in food service. She is now a mentor to new students.


 

 


 

Life’s Kitchen works with 16-20 year old Opportunity Youth. These young adults are described as disconnected and are neither working nor in school and have a high risk of being incarcerated, becoming homeless, or worse. In Boise, today, there are over 11,000 young adults that fit into this description. LK provides a 16 week Workforce Development, Food Service, Life Skills, and GED training program that provides them with on-the-job training for the food service industry.


 

 


 

                                     Life skills training includes balancing a                                         checkbook, applying for a loan, finding                                       an apartment, peer counseling, health                                         relationship mentoring, changing the oil in their car, hygiene, and so much more. Life’s Kitchen supports those students who have nowhere to turn. They teach the students how to work, how to overcome barriers, and how to succeed in life.


 

Life’s Kitchen operates a Café, makes and delivers meals, and caters for companies and special events. The proceeds from all these activities support their ongoing programs. That was the plan before COVID 19. When COVID hit, they had to shut down all of the businesses so students were not receiving as much on-the-job training and money was not coming in from the different enterprises.


                                         The good news is that the students                                               are still getting terrific instruction                                                 from Live’s Kitchen’s outstanding                                                    instructors and are doing more                                                      hands-on culinary training. When                                                 our community bounces back from                                               COVID, the graduates will be ready                                               and able and trained to go to work.

To see a list of grant recipients since 2011 click below

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December 2019:  Giraffe laugh was granted $20,000 for their new Preschool site at the Boys and Girls Club in Garden City. 

  Life's Kitchen was granted $7,500 for a new oven. 

   Both Organization help students prosper in our community.   

The STEM and Multipurpose Resource Center, at the Girl Scouts, Silver Sage Council, will provide a permanent educational space where K-12 girls will engage in fun, hands-on, extracurricular STEM learning that will increase STEM interest and knowledge.  Funding will equip, furnish, and modify 1,000 square feet to create a first-rate STEM resource center.  Once completed, the center will provide an easily accessible, permanent, safe space where girls will have the opportunities to participate in hands-on activities such as coding and programming, construction design and model building, creative and discovery-based pursuits, financial literacy and leadership skill building. 

Grants Funded in 2018/19

Boise Philharmonic           2,000

Girls on the Run                1,100

Idaho Botanical Garden   1,025

Idaho diaper Bank            1,000

Idaho Watercolor              2,500

Land Trust                          1,998

Learning Lab                      2,500

Meridian Food Bank         1,800

Salvation Army                  1,000

Sleep IHP                            2,000

Young Writers                    3,000

BSU Scholarship                3,000

                                            $22,923

Large Grants 2018-2019

Girl Scouts (STEM Room and equipment) $15,000

GC Library Foundation (Repairs to Bus) $6,500

Total 2018-2019   $44,423

From one gigantic cooker to two.  Greater Boise Rotary Foundation approved a grant to Life's Kitchen to purchase a new cooker and warming oven.  $16,600  They wasted no time in ordering the cooker and getting it hooked up and in use.  They can now double the amount being cooked at one time.  This, in turn, makes it possible for Life's Kitchen to offer more meals to customers, schedule more catering jobs, and most of all, educate students and prepare them for the world.  

Bells For Books Bus gets new paint and wrap.

     GBRF granted the Garden City Library Foundation $15,000 for new wrap and paint for the Bus.  This bus travels to area of the City where children and parents are not able to go to the Library in garden City.  The children loves the books and look forward to to bus every day that is it scheduled to be in their neighborhoods. 

Boise Watershed Exhibit

The River Campus presents an exhilarating new dimension to water education with exterior exhibits that show the big picture of our valley’s water resources. Designed by public artists, engineers and educators, the River Campus is a destination site!

GBRF is proud to have supported Boise Watershed with $17,000 toward their Exhibit.