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Volunteers of America Southwest Receives Grant from Niagara Bottling to Support Program for Disadvantaged Children in San Bernardino

San Bernardino (February 23, 2016) – Volunteers of America has again teamed with Niagara Bottling, the largest private-label bottled water supplier in the United States, to enhance the lives of disadvantaged children and youth. The relationship began in 2015 with $300,000 in grants, and continues in 2016 with Niagara providing a $100,000 grant to Volunteers of America Southwest’s Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (S.T.E.A.M.) Environmental Indoor/Outdoor Laboratory for Infants through Fifth Grade in San Bernardino.

“We are tremendously grateful to Niagara for its commitment to our mission of serving our community’s most vulnerable,” said Volunteers of America Southwest CEO Gerald McFadden “With Niagara’s support, we are able to develop an innovative and engaging STEAM learning environment for children and families in San Bernardino.”

Volunteers of America will use Niagara Bottling funds to increase awareness of the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (S.T.E.A.M.) education in early childhood (birth through eight years) and school-aged elementary children up to the sixth grade.

An interactive-exploratory laboratory will be designed to prepare children for the challenges of tomorrow—focusing on developmentally appropriate, inclusive and culturally sensitive, hands-on experiences in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (S.T.E.A.M.). The laboratory will have both indoor and outdoor features to encourage children to play, explore, discover and engage with discrete areas for children of each age group. A special feature of the laboratory will be an indoor/outdoor open venue for parents, families, and cross-aged educational experiences—including puppetry, demonstrations, performing arts, space, music, and fine arts. Concentrated focus will be on water conservation and drought mitigation.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure to work with the Volunteers of America team in our first year of giving,” said Niagara Cares Director Kristen Venick. “We are excited to jump into the second year, supporting projects that support vulnerable children and families in our local plant communities, and are looking forward to another impactful year.”

Nationally, Volunteers of America provides high-quality, innovative services for disadvantaged and disconnected children and youth. With a team of caring staff and dedicated volunteers, programs focus on the social, emotional and academic development of young children, and also the empowerment of older youth to be physically, emotionally and mentally healthy as they enter adulthood. Programs provide a continuum of care and support for young people through prevention, early intervention, crisis intervention and long-term services.

Niagara Cares, a program of Niagara Bottling, is committed to supporting local and national community initiatives by engaging stakeholders and investing resources to benefit disadvantaged children and their families. Niagara Cares initiatives include national strategic partnerships, local community grants, employee engagement and volunteerism, and the Andrew D. Peykoff, Sr. Scholarship Program. For more information visit www.niagarawater.com/niagara-cares.

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