Danville’s Laura Lee House Sees Spike in Fundraising
By Jeff Bossert
An afterschool program for youth that’s been in Danville for nearly 70 years has seen in a boost in private donations.
Laura Lee Fellowship House Executive Director Alice Payne says they’re a bit more than halfway towards next week’s goal of $20-thousand.
She said there have been generous donations from the region, including $7-thousand in one night at a recent community meeting.
Payne said help from the United Way has been decreased to the role of buying supplies and paying for tutors, but not helping with facilities.
"Whereas we greatly apprciate what we get from the United Way, we need to have a building open and utiltiies taken care of in order to have the afterschool program," she said. "We're trying to generate money to take care of that, not just as a band-aid, but we're looking for partners so we can sustain."
The tutorial program currently has 73 students, aided by five retired teachers, operating for just over three hours during the week.
Payne said despite having similar programs as the Boys and Girls Clubs, partnering with them really isn’t an option, because there’s not a facility to house all the kids overseen by both.
"We work on small things (together), but there's no way that we can join forces," she said. We're two different places. We're not even close to each other in terms of buildings."
Payne said the educational aspect of the program has been ramped up in the past year since she’s come aboard, like providing homework help, and partnering with Danville Area Community College, and the 4-H program through University of Illinois extension.
Payne said Laura Lee is seeking out additional sources for fundraising, including grant research, and other ways to share resources with similar programs.