Martin Enrichment Academy (MEA) provides after-school and summer programs for the youth of Weakley County, Tennessee.
MEA is coordinated through Martin Housing Authority and its non-profit organization, Impact Management Solutions.
The mission of the Martin Enrichment Academy is to provide an environment that will creatively educate the students and foster a relationship that will last a lifetime.
MEA currently serves 65 students (Kindergarten - 12th grade) in the after-school program. Students' daily schedule includes a healthy snack, academic enrichment activities, recreational activities, tutoring, and homework help.
MEA staff members work closely with teachers in the local school system to ensure goals and activities align with school objectives. Parental involvement is encouraged and fostered through volunteer opportunities, parent events, communication with MEA, etc. Students have opportunities through clubs such as art and culinary to engage in hands on learning.
Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network works with MEA students on a community garden. Students plant, harvest and prepare meals for the community through the Stone Soup Project.
MEA's summer program continues the enrichment experiences with 40 children (Kindergarten - 5th grade) enrolled. The summer program provides a bridge to close the gap on summer learning lost.
The majority of volunteers comes from the local university, University of Tennessee at Martin (UTM). Volunteers from several UTM departments actively participate in MEA programs (Social Work, Health and Human Performance, Education, Art Education, and the Paul Meek Library). Members of several UTM sororities and fraternities also volunteer. The UTM Athletic Department provides tickets to students to attend various games during MEA mentor activities with the program.
MEA also benefits from community volunteers, including members from local churches, library staff, and retired teachers.
The programs offered by Martin Enrichment Academy are funded through a variety of sources. The State of Tennessee Department of Education's Lottery for Education Program (LEAP) provides the largest portion of funding for the after-school program. USDA's Child and Adult Food Program provides a healthy snack for children during the after-school program. MEA utilizes the USDA's Summer Food Program, which provides a healthy lunch for any child under 18, to feed students during the summer program.
Additional funding is provided by the United Way of West Tennessee and through community donations, specifically the annual Daddy Daughter Dance fundraiser. The annual event, held for the past six years, has grown from 150 participants to more than 600 participants. In 2019, over $12,000 was raised for the MEA summer program through the event.
More information about the Martin Enrichment Academy, including donation and volunteer opportunities can be found here.
This article was originally published in the July 2020 of SERCulator.