The Maximus Charitable Foundation makes Maximum Impact

The Maximus Charitable Foundation is a health and human services grant program. Its motto is to help the government serve the people. The goal is to help disadvantaged individuals achieve self-sufficiency and personal growth, particularly those programs serving kids.  The grant amounts vary. The deadlines for grants is  August 31.

Georgia-Pacific Offers Grant To Support Creativity

The Georgia-Pacific Foundation Grant seeks to invest in innovative and result-driven educational initiatives. It values creating, supporting and nurturing worthy educational projects. The grant helps kids transition from school to the workforce. For 2011 funding, the GP Foundation accepts proposals for grants and in-kind donations. The deadline for this grant is Oct. 31, 2011.


STEMester Helps Kids Learn Leadership and Service

STEMester of Service Grants support middle school teachers in engaging kids in a semester of service. This grant helps kids build a framework for service learning, addressing critical environmental and disaster preparedness needs, and connecting them to science, technology, engineering and math. This is to help increase the students' academic achievement. The STEM Schools must be located in one of the 19 states with the highest dropout rate, including Georgia, Washington, Colorado, California, Washington D.C., and many others. The grant is for$5,000 and helps cover a field trip to Pennsylvania. The deadline for this is August 8, 2011.


Ronald McDonald Grant Doesn’t Clown Around With Kids Health

The Ronald McDonald House Charities try to improve the health and well being of children directly. The charity takes a holistic, family-centered approach to helping bring kids care. The Ronald McDonald House Charity hopes to partner with organizations that take an innovative approach to addressing the health needs of the population of kids. The deadline for this grant is August 5, 2011.


My Best Friend Grant Offers Assistance To Teen and Preteen Girls

My Best Friend Foundation offers a grant to school superintendents and school principals. The program’s message is to reject premarital sex, underage drinking and drugs. The school district must require a long-term commitment to kids from sixth grade through high school graduation. This program is only for girls. Every year, each participant requires at least 110 hours of guidance and activities.  Please contact the organization for details on deadlines.


Playgrounds — To the Summit of the Monkey Bars

The future of parks in the present. Recognize anything from your childhood? -- Inman Park, Atlanta.

A few bumps, bruises and broken bones from playing on a playground might be good for kids after all. Playgrounds with safety features such as low height limitations and padded ground might be too safe, the New York Times reports, potentially preventing kids from developing emotionally and contributing to unnecessary anxiety later in life.

Risky play, such as climbing or wrestling, gradually exposes kids to dangers and helps them solve problems. What kids learn on the playground is a similar technique that therapists use to help conquer phobias in adults – starting small and working toward larger goals, such as reaching the top of the monkey bars – Ellen Sandseter, a professor of psychology at Queen Maud University in Norway, told the Times.

Some experts and parents disagree with the idea that playgrounds may be too safe, worrying fears may be introduced too early in a child’s life and ultimately develop into phobias. However, recent studies have shown quite the opposite, purporting that kids injured at a younger age are less likely to develop phobias toward risky behavior as those who didn’t experience the same life lessons.

“There is no clear evidence that playground safety measures have lowered the average risk on playgrounds,” David Ball, a risk management professor at Middlesex University in London, told the Times. “This sounds counterintuitive, but it shouldn’t … If children and parents believe they are in an environment which is safer than it actually is, they will take more risks. An argument against softer surfacing is that children think it is safe, but because they don’t understand its properties, they overrate its performance.”

Seesaws may be out, but spring-powered space ships look like they are here to stay -- Inman Park, Atlanta.

Another factor is boredom. While the added safety features may work great for toddlers, teenagers and older children may get bored with, say, the reduced height of the monkey bars and seek a more thrilling play experience in more dangerous environments, or not at all.

Long-time fixtures such as slides and seesaws have slowly vanished from America’s playgrounds in recent decades due to a number of reasons, including parental concerns, federal guidelines and the fear of lawsuit. Some consider the ultra-safe, enclosed playground platforms of the 80s and 90s an overreaction, but few seem willing to return to the rough-and-tumble days of playground’s past.

More recently, industry has introduced some creative solutions.

The monkey bars and tire swings may be out, but the next generation of doohickies and thing-a-ma-jigs are just starting to make their way into the every day lives of today’s youth.

Photography: Clay Duda, JJIE Staff


Dan Paul Foundation Seeks To Give Kids Opportunities

The Dan Paul Foundation offers funding to help children have all the resources they would need in life to be happy, fulfilled and contributing members of society. The foundation will use its resources to help train teachers and parents in early childhood development, protect children from abuse and neglect, stimulate their personal social responsibilities, and offer them opportunities for enrichment and growth into adulthood and beyond. Child advocacy and protection, teaching social responsibility to the environment, the homeless, and poverty-stricken and underprivileged, and scientific endeavors and advancement in health to improve quality of life are also areas that may be funded. Grants typically range from a few hundred dollars up to a maximum of $20,000.  The deadline for this grant is August 31.


Lego Children’s Fund Offers Money to Encourage Creativity

The Lego Children’s Fund provides funding to help encourage kids' creativity and problem solving. This grant offers assistance to programs that help kids from birth to 14 years old. The focus is on disadvantaged kids and special projects to help nurture creativity. Lego Children’s Fund welcomes requests nationwide, but gives preferrential treatment to Connecticut and Western Massachusetts.  Typical awards are between $500-$5,000. Matching funds for qualifying projects or qualifying organizations are also considered. The deadline for this grant is October 15, 2011.