The Georgia Department of Education has approved LIFT Youth Center Inc. in Ringgold to receive funding through the competitive Building Opportunities in Out-of-School Time (BOOST) grants program.

“LIFT Youth Center Inc. is honored to be one of 104 organizations — four statewide organizations with statewide reach and 100 community-based organizations — awarded a BOOST grant, funded with American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds,” the center said in a new release.

LIFT Youth Center Inc. provides free drop-in afterschool for sixth- through 12th-grade students, fostering an environment of inclusion, positive self-worth, and self-discovery, while facilitating inner growth to prepare them for future success.

“The BOOST grants are a crucial part of our strategy to address learning loss as a result of the pandemic,” state School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “These 104 organizations will provide opportunities for students that support both academic learning and the needs of the whole child. I appreciate the Georgia Statewide Afterschool Network lending their expertise to this initiative.”

The BOOST grant will allow LIFT to greater serve Catoosa County’s 6th- through 12th-grade students with robust programming at no cost to LIFT students and families. Having no fees for these services further gives access to what has become high-quality programming, family support, and student services.

LIFT programs

All of LIFT’s programming falls under one of the five categories of the center’s REACH (Recreation, Education, Art, Community, Health).


♦ Game room with pool table, foosball, board/card games

♦ Outdoor activities such as basketball, gaga ball, 9 square in the air, ping pong, etc.

♦ Book clubs and a library for individual reading

♦ Music, movies, video gaming

♦ Yoga classes for both students and parents/guardians

♦ Field trips and outdoor adventures, etc.


♦ Practical life skills: job interviews, resumes, car maintenance, hygiene, etc.

♦ Monthly financial literacy workshops

♦ Exposure to career possibilities or trades with local professionals

♦ Free tutoring and having a place to do homework

♦ Technology and educational resources (ACT/SAT prep, tech center, etc.)

♦ Mini-library and classes, co-hosted by the Catoosa County Library

♦ Language classes such as American sign language


♦ Photography, videography and digital editing

♦ Music and lighting studio – recording studio with classes on production and editing

♦ Free guitar classes thanks to “Guitars for Kids” and the Songbirds Foundation, etc.

♦ Maker’s Space – fully stocked with supplies for crafting of all sorts

♦ Art and crafting classes

♦ Functional stage – open mic nights and concerts of local musicians

♦ Improv and acting workshops

♦ Digital art and creative writing projects


♦ Community service projects completed by students every month

♦ Adult and student mentoring for any who are interested

♦ Connecting students with civic leaders for community projects and events

♦ Weekly support groups for students and parents

♦ Team-building exercises with Student Leadership and small groups


♦ Healthy snacks offered every day

♦ Healthy cooking classes offered weekly

♦ Mental health workshops and local referrals

♦ Resource bridging: access necessities, mental, or physical health

♦ Workshops for parents/guardians offered monthly

♦ Hosting and referring community resources

At LIFT students have new experiences through its REACH programs, engage more fully in living, and develop healthy lifestyles. Socialization opportunities are needed to support social-emotional maturity into healthy adulthood.

“The Georgia Statewide Afterschool Network offers its congratulations to the BOOST grantees and looks forward to providing them support throughout the grant cycle to ensure that Georgia’s youth receive high-quality afterschool and summer enrichment,” GSAN Director Katie Landes said. “The grantees were chosen through a competitive application process, and we believe strongly in their potential to expand access, reduce barriers, and increase quality for afterschool and summer programming across Georgia, particularly for children most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

LIFT’s afterschool programs and activities are designed to help students build assets and resiliency. Studies have demonstrated that the more assets young people have, the less likely they are to engage in risky or unlawful behavior and the more likely they are to perform well in school. LIFT will strive to leverage evidence-based practices to assist youth in constructing building blocks that they need to grow up healthy, caring, and responsible.

At the Claudia Nance Rollins Youth Center in Ringgold students are LIFTed:

Loved as they are

♦ by seeing and accepting others without judgment or criticism

♦ by working with multi-generational adults to build trust and support

Inspired to be more

♦ by discovering gifts and talents in a myriad of classes and activities

♦ by having a safe environment to explore, discover and develop

Found in community

♦ by joining groups of peers who can demonstrate true support

♦ by making a difference in their schools, towns and neighborhoods

Trusted to make a difference

♦ by empowering students in leadership positions and service opportunities — by expecting and empowering them to contribute and have a positive impact

Every day of afterschool programming will include scheduled REACH workshops, along with multiple options of art, music, gaming, outdoor recreation, tutoring, mentoring, reading or homework help. This asset-building, combined with a “loved, inspired, found and trusted” (LIFT) approach to relationships, will build resiliency and strengthen students.

LIFT is creating a safe space for those students who are high-functioning on the autism spectrum, for those who are battling depression and social anxiety, and for those who have struggled to overcome the effects of isolation during the pandemic. LIFT is passionate about the effort Georgia’s communities are taking to have an active role in the states long-term recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and are honored to get to do with excellence thanks to the BOOST grant.


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