ALTOONA – Thanks to the generosity of Investment Savings Bank (ISB), area youth will once again be spending exciting summer days on the Penn State Altoona Ivyside Park campus engaging in a wide array of educational enrichment programs, making new friends, and simply having fun.
Over the last decade, ISB has supported the college’s Kids’ College program and its participants through two leadership gifts, totaling $200,000 that funded need-based scholarships, established an endowment, and supplemented the endowment.
ISB’s original five-year commitment, announced in 2005, was an unprecedented demonstration of philanthropic support—believed to be the first-ever for a program administered by Penn State Altoona’s Office of Continuing Education and Training.
Both gift commitments were designed to provide critical funding to fulfill the tuition assistance requests received from the parents of children who, otherwise, would not be able to attend Kids’ College.
“Penn State Altoona expresses deepest appreciation to the trustees and executives of Investment Savings Bank for their powerful role in the advancement of our Kids’ College program,” said N. Susan Woodring, director of Development and Alumni Relations.
“Our success is directly proportional to their limitless enthusiastic support. As the lead benefactor of Kids’ College, ISB continues to make the seemingly impossible possible.”
Over the last decade, the percentage of scholarship recipients has more than doubled from approximately 10 percent in 2005, when ISB’s endowment was established, to 28 percent in 2013.
These numbers reflect the desire of economically-distressed families in the region to provide supplemental educational opportunities for their children and underscore the critical need for private support to fund the tuition assistance program.
“As the scholarship recipients become of age to attend college, we feel we will see increased numbers of past scholarship recipients enrolling in secondary education,” said Sherri McGregor, education and training specialist.
“In part, this is due to the opportunities provided by ISB’s support. Many of these children would have never set foot on a university campus. These scholarships provide local youth the opportunity to experience a university setting, meet campus faculty and staff, eat in our cafeteria, and explore career opportunities.
“In addition, one of our past scholarship recipients has been employed for the past two years as a camp counselor. Another past recipient has been a counselor-in-training and participated in youth focus groups conducted by our department to identify programming areas for middle school and high school students.
“Only recently, a parent of a past scholarship recipient stopped by our office to obtain information on how to enroll in a degree program to further her education.”
Summer Kids’ College is a celebration of each youngster’s unique imagination, unquenchable thirst for knowledge, and boundless energy. Advantages to participants in the Kids’ College program include experiential learning that fosters the development of communication and interpersonal skills, the enhancement of problem-solving skills, and the exploration of career opportunities.
The educational enrichment program, marketed to more than 22,000 students in school districts throughout Bedford, Blair, Cambria and Huntingdon counties, symbolizes Penn State Altoona’s commitment to provide a supportive and effective learning experience for the youth in our region.
The impact of ISB’s philanthropic support extends beyond the camp participants to the families of scholarship recipients as well.
“I would like to extend sincere gratitude for the scholarship that was donated by ISB, enabling my son and for all other children to attend the Penn State Altoona Kids’ College,” one parent wrote.
“As a result of the scholarship, my son will now have the opportunity he would not otherwise have to participate in a continued and higher educational experience and the advantages of those experiences. Once again, thank you for providing a wonderful opportunity.”
For more information about Kids’ College programs, please contact the Office of Continuing Education and Training at 814-949-5535.