ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — The Board of Directors of the Escambia Children’s Trust approved their largest amount ever in grants at their February meeting.

$5,104,482 was awarded to 19 local children’s services agencies to provide out-of-school time programming for more than 5,000 children and youth across Escambia County over the next three years.

Tori Woods, Chair of the Grants Committee and newly elected Chair of the Board, said she is excited to finally see the day come to pass.

“The grants committee put in hours and hours of work to review hundreds of pages of proposals, and I appreciate the Board’s support to make these grants a reality,” Woods said.

The trust said in a release high-quality afterschool and summer learning programs help prepare students in K-12th grade for success in school, college, career, and life. The Trust said their strategy aims to build on this evidence base by providing opportunities that help all students, particularly those in underserved communities, thrive and become better prepared to complete high school and go on to pursue a college degree or vocational education.

The funded projects will address several urgent needs identified in the Trust’s 2022 Needs Assessment, in particular the academic and attendance indicators addressed in Theme 2: Children are Ready to Succeed in School and Life and the indicators on youth mental health, addiction and violence addressed in Theme 4: Children Have Supports to Help Them Avoid Risky Behaviors.

“Studies have shown that the social and emotional outcomes associated with out-of-school time program participation lead to improved school attendance, academic achievement, attitudes toward learning, increased self-confidence and self-esteem, decreased behavior problems, improved communication skills, and enhanced ability to effectively interact with peers and adults,” The trust said in a release. “Research has shown that reading just six books over the summer may keep a struggling reader from regressing. Students who read or are engaged in another learning activity for 2-3 hours per week during the summer can further prevent summer learning loss. The combined data on summer learning and the positive effect on social and emotional learning provides a clear understanding of the opportunity out-of-school time programs have to positively impact Escambia County youth.”

The Escambia Children’s Trust funding will enable grantees to offer low-income and underserved families a range of high-quality out-of-school time programs that meet a demonstrated need for positive youth development during the critical afterschool hours, summer breaks, and other times when school is not in session.

The agencies approved for funding are as follows:

Boys & Girls Club of the Emerald Coast$874,878
Children’s Home Society$244,672
Dixon School of Arts and Sciences$260,000
Urban Development Center$397,556
Valerie’s House Pensacola$105,215
Omega Lamplighters$107,460
Central Gulf Coast Freedom Schools$215,045
Covenant Care$201,095
Pensacola Children’s Chorus$96,201
Pensacola Little Theatre$144,681
CMB Visions Unlimited$293,184
Epps Christian Center$254,800
Pensacola MESS Hall$85,648
City of Pensacola Parks and Recreation$540,040
Chain Reaction$195,580
Children’s Theater Company$196,189
SALT Ministry (Sisters Anointed to Lead Together)$11,489
YMCA of NW Florida$581,748
James B. Washington Education & Sports$295,000

For more information about the out-of-school time programs or to view the full proposals submitted to the Trust, please visit the Escambia Children’s Trust website at