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Education briefs

Homework Hangout to get $1.1M in funds

WASHINGTON — The Homework Hangout Club in Decatur has been awarded $1.1 million in federal funding.

The money is from the U.S. Department of Labor through YouthBuild, a job-training and educational program for at-risk youth ages 16-24. ​

The program was founded in 1991 as an after-school program, offering tutoring, arts and crafts,and physical activities. It has expanded into job-training, mentoring and other programs.

YouthBuild helps young people complete high school, earn industry-recognized credentials for in-demand occupations, and undergo training to build housing for low-income or homeless individuals and families in their communities.

Five Illinois organizations received a total of $5.3 million through the program this month.

Piatt County foundation offers scholarships

MONTICELLO – The Piatt County Soil and Water Conservation District Foundation will offer a $1,000 scholarship for the first time this year. Applications are available at

Eligible students must meet three of the following criteria: currently enrolled in a school district that serves Piatt County; a graduate of a district that serves Piatt County; accepted to post-secondary school and pursuing an agriculture or natural resource-related degree or certification; currently enrolled in a post-secondary school and pursing an agriculture or natural resource-related degree or certification; have resided in Piatt County at some point in the last five years.

Applications can be emailed to or mailed to Piatt County SWCD, 1209 Bear Lane, Monticello, IL 61856 and must be postmarked by April 30. For questions, call (217) 762-2146, ext. 3.

Program to focus on Down syndrome

DECATUR – Families and caregivers of babies and toddlers with Down syndrome are invited to a free program at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 16 at the Decatur Public Library, 130 N. Franklin St.

The education group Gigi's Playhouse will present Language, Music N' Our Peeps, recommended for newborns to 3-year-olds. The class guides parents and young children through basic sign language and other forms of communication. At 11 a.m., The Destination Discovery class for all ages supports the development of motor skills, social skills and language.

Jerome Foundation president to speak

DECATUR – Arts advocate Ben Cameron, president of the Jerome Foundation, will be the speaker at Millikin University's James W. Moore Lecture 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21 in Albert Taylor Theatre inside Shilling Hall.

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The event is free and the public is welcome.

The Jerome Foundation supports emerging artists in New York City and Minnesota. Cameron has also served as a member of the Tony Awards nominating committee, program director for the Arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation in New York, and executive director of the Theatre Communications Group.

He's been a recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the government of France, and the Sidney Yates Arts Advocacy Award from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters.

Contact Valerie Wells at (217) 421-7982. Follow her on Twitter: @modgirlreporter


Education Reporter

Education reporter for the Herald & Review.

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