It’s that time of year! 40 Hours for the Forty Acres, the annual university-wide fundraising event, will soon be upon us. From Sept. 15-16, donors will have 40 hours to contribute to an important cause here in the DDCE and across the university.
All Longhorns — students, alumni, faculty and staff alike — are encouraged to participate. Large or small, every gift matters. Please consider supporting the following programs and units within the DDCE. Follow the online conversation with #UT40for40.
Neighborhood Longhorns Program
Started in 1991 as a way to introduce children to the college environment, the Neighborhood Longhorns Program (NLP) aims to increase retention rates, improve grade performance and provide unique campus experiences for economically disadvantaged students in Austin area Title I elementary and middle schools.
Through a unique partnership with Austin Independent School District, the program inspires students to succeed and offers them opportunities to experience the UT Austin campus. Each year, the NLP serves over 5,500 students in 39 participating schools and encourages them to put their lives on an educational track through tutoring, incentives, scholarships and campus visits.
Your support ensures the academic success of students in the Neighborhood Longhorns Program by providing opportunities that motivate students to reach their full potential. Most students participating in the program come from economically disadvantaged or historically underrepresented families in which a college education may not seem feasible or necessary. When parents have not attended college—and often may not have completed high school—a student might never consider the possibility of attaining a higher education. Not only does the Neighborhood Longhorns Program expose them to a university experience in which they are made to feel welcome, the program also provides student participants with the opportunity to earn a scholarship based on their performance. By providing a modest scholarship to students that graduate high school and enroll in college, the program demonstrates at an early age that a college education is a worthwhile pursuit and sets them on a path to success.
Your gift to the Neighborhood Longhorns Program helps at-risk students realize that they are 100% college material. Hook ‘em on education!
UT Charter Schools
The University of Texas-University Charter School (UT-UCS) is an accredited statewide public charter district that provides specialized instruction for K-12 students in alternative education settings. Established in 1998, UT-UCS educates more than 3,100 students across 24 campuses that are co-located within shelters, hospitals and other residential facilities. UT-UCS addresses the unique learning needs of children in crisis by combining high expectations and highly qualified teachers with accredited learning curricula, small classroom settings and individualized instruction.
The students of UT-UCS are in very complex personal situations. Many are in temporary settings: 45- or 90-day residential treatment programs, group foster homes, hospitals or shelters. In order to provide the necessary coursework for each student, UT-UCS uses computer-based instruction that is individually tailored to ensure students are working on credits they need to move closer to graduation. Most teachers teach multi-grade level classes within each class period. All teachers are state-certified and many are also special education certified.
The classroom computers frequently need to be repaired, upgraded or replaced. Due to budget constraints, full refreshment of computers is not possible. UT-UCS is on a cycle of replacement as funding allows. However, they are at a point where there are computers that have a great need to be replaced or upgraded, and the school cannot financially afford it.
UT-UCS is fundraising to raise enough to replace 100 computers (each costing around $350) for students. Your gift will help provide students in crisis with the equipment to continue their education while they work to improve their personal situations.
Hogg Foundation for Mental Health
The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health works with communities to strengthen conditions that support mental health and eliminate conditions that harm mental health. The goal is to change the patterns of mental illness across Texas, especially for marginalized populations.
COVID-19 is having a profoundly disruptive impact on families and communities in Texas, and Hogg Foundation grantees are no exception. These organizations are staffed by people who are on the front lines of transforming mental health in Texas, and they need your assistance. With your help, organizations that have been forced to pivot to COVID-19 response will be able to continue their mission-critical mental health work. The community conditions that impact mental health and well-being are daunting, but the Hogg Foundations has the power to change them.
Factoring in the effects of social isolation, job and income loss, and the trauma of the disease itself, the mental health toll of COVID-19 is likely to be huge and long-lasting. The Hogg Foundation works alongside organizations and individuals working to improve the mental health and well-being of Texans and transform the places where people live, learn, work, play and pray. Your gift will help ensure that this ongoing crisis will not jeopardize that work, but that it will keep going strong for the people of Texas.
Your contribution will go toward:
- Direct relief of family needs like rent, food, and medication assistance
- Psychiatric first aid for frontline worker
- Mitigation of COVID-19’s impact on policy advocacy and census outreach efforts
- Cushioning organizations against the economic pain caused by the ongoing lockdown