A $700,000 grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation will finance Kansas University research to help the Boys & Girls Club of America bolster its after-school tutoring program.
Company representatives joined KU officials and Gov. Kathleen Sebelius for the formal grant presentation Wednesday afternoon at Wal-Mart, 3300 Iowa.
The grant will finance work at KU's Center for Research on Learning, which will adapt two of its ongoing academic-support programs for use during "Power Hour" programming in Boys & Girls Clubs.
The center's programs already have succeeded in helping KU athletes outside of competition, said Don Deshler, the center's director. Now it's a matter of applying those same ideas in a new curriculum that can be administered by volunteers, who eventually will help about 4.8 million children and teens studying at some 4,300 Boys & Girls Clubs nationwide.
The curriculum should be available for testing at five pilot sites this fall.
"We just need to design it in such a way that it will meet the unique needs that they bring to the table, and we're excited to do so," said Deshler, who is the Gene A. Budig professor of special education at KU.
Among the more than 100 people attending Wednesday's presentation was Janet Murphy, executive director for the Boys & Girls Club in Lawrence. About 1,200 youths participate in "Power Hour" each day in Lawrence, Murphy said, and she's looking forward to the KU research making the successful program even stronger.
"As they design these programs, and come up with new ideas for Power Hour, we can help them with their homework and help them be more academically successful," Murphy said.
The grant announced Wednesday is in addition to another $1.2 million grant that Wal-Mart announced in March for the club's "Power Hour" program.