Diakon Youth Services A Lutheran Family & Community Ministry

Diakon Youth Services

Diakon Child, Family & Community Ministries

DEP grant will allow youths to learn about the Chesapeake Bay watershed

Boiling Springs, Pa. (Wednesday July 9, 2014)
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection grant of $3,000, the largest the department awards, will help students in Diakon's Center Point program learn how to help protect water quality.

Diakon Youth Services has received a $3,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to allow 30 students in the Center Point Day Program to participate in the field experience offered by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

The grant provides registrations for 15 students to participate in the program in the fall and 15 students during spring 2015. Based at the Diakon Wilderness Center, Center Point is a day treatment program that offers schooling, vocational training, and supportive services for students in grades seven through 12 who struggle in a traditional school environment.

Through the “Improving Water Quality While Improving Lives” project, students will participate in a hands-on watershed education experience that will allow them to learn ways they can positively influence water quality in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, while also gaining skills that can improve their own lives. The secondary goal is in keeping with the program's primary focus of challenging students to change behaviors and ways of thinking so they can become productive members of the community.

"The goal of this project is to create a comprehensive watershed education curriculum that inspires students to make personal lifestyle changes, as well as to encourage change within their communities, that will improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed," says Michael Savario of the Diakon Wilderness Center, who spearheaded the effort to develop the initiative.

Students in the initiative will participate in a one-day field program in Baltimore's Inner Harbor and a three-day residential field program at one of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's study centers, gaining firsthand experience with the bay's ecosystem in a remote locale. In addition, students will take part in hands-on learning activities at the Diakon Wilderness Center that will demonstrate the effect of local actions on the bay ecosystem. 

Among those activities, students will learn how to monitor the stream at the Diakon Wilderness Center.  Students from Dickinson College’s Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring will provide leadership and equipment for this on-site stream study inclusive of chemical, visual, and biological assessments. The Center Point participants also will be assigned to research ways they can help to “Save the Bay” and commit to specific changes they can make in their lives that will have a positive impact on the watershed.

Teachers with the Capital Area Intermediate Unit, which provides educational services at the Diakon Wilderness Center, will be involved in educational components of the initiative. Pre- and post-testing will be done to monitor results of the program.

In addition to the initiative and the earning of traditional school credits, Center Point students can learn skills in a specific vocation, recover credits from failed courses, gain job skills such as interviewing and resume writing, and participate in drug and alcohol and family-based counseling.

For further information, please contact:
William Swanger, M.A., APR
Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications
Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries
(717) 795-0308
E-mail: swangerb@diakon.org

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Diakon Youth Services
571 Mountain Road, P.O. Box 10, Boiling Springs, PA 17007-0010
Phone: (717) 960-6700 | Fax: (717) 258-9408
E-mail: brodej@diakon.org | Home: www.diakon.org/youth

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