Schools are charged with providing academic experiences for children, leveling the playing field so that all may have the opportunity to learn. However, there are other playing fields and experiences beyond the classroom. VAC’s Youth Enrichment Fund (YEF) provides scholarships for youth 18 and under who wish to participate in enrichment opportunities and who are referred to VAC by schools or other social service agencies or identified by VAC staff. The YEF is one of VAC’s most beloved programs because it enables young people to increase both their feelings of self-worth and their experience outside the classroom. Below are examples of services that fall under the umbrella of the YEF:
- Camp fees
- Sports team uniforms and fees
- Instrument rental fees for music students
- Art/Dance/Theater/Karate/Swim/Gymnastics Classes
- Assistance with sports uniform costs not covered by the school, such as athletic shoes, or suits for swimmers
- Registration fees for classes related to a child’s identified special talent
The YEF is designed to provide children from low-income families with products or services that their parents or guardians are unable to provide. For specifics on guidelines and referral procedures, please see below.
These funds are not to be used for regular family expenses such as rent, utilities or food. The funds are not to be used for expenses such as prescription medication, which are already covered by another VAC program. The funds cannot be used for items or services that should normally be paid for by other agencies or programs and can only be paid directly to a product or service provider. They will not be paid directly to the child or to the parent of the child. VAC will pay up to 90% of the cost of the program, not to exceed $50. Funds will only be allocated if a bill or receipt can be made out to VAC and if the provider agrees to accept payment from VAC. Our accountant requires that we have a bill or receipt for each payment.
VAC staff may identify such needs during family interviews and allocate the funds.
Agency representatives can make a referral by completing and signing the YEF Referral. The representative must contact the parent and the parent must come to VAC with the completed form before the assistance can be provided. The parent of the child must come to VAC with identification for everyone in the household and proof of all household income.
A referral from a school official or social worker does not guarantee that the funds will be allocated and the family should be made aware of this by the referring school or social worker. VAC staff will make the final decision on the allocation of funds. If you have a question about the appropriateness of the referral, please call our office.