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New grant to support Blugold Beginnings youth programs

| Judy Berthiaume

UW-Eau Claire’s Blugold Beginnings program has received a nearly $200,000 grant from Service Wisconsin to support its 2019-20 programming.

The grant, which totals $197,497, will support Blugold Beginnings’ College and Career Readiness program, which engages youth in science, technology, engineering and math.

The goal is to increase the number of students who have access to STEM enrichment activities, improve homework completion rates and increase grades for students served, says Jodi Thesing-Ritter, executive director for diversity and inclusion at UW-Eau Claire.

“This grant will allow us to continue our pilot AmeriCorps program and serve more students in the Chippewa Valley as we work to close the opportunity gap in participation in science, technology, engineering and math fields,” Thesing-Ritter says. “This funding fulfills a critical need for enrichment in STEM education in our area.”

With the funding, Blugold Beginnings will enroll 54 AmeriCorps members, who will serve more than 2,000 youth in the Chippewa Valley in the next year.

The 54 Blugold Beginnings AmeriCorps members will engage youth in real-world activities to explore STEM during and after school, at outreach events and through summer camps.

For more information about the grant or Blugold Beginnings, contact Jodi Thesing-Ritter at 715-836-3651 or

Photo caption: A new grant will support Blugold Beginnings as it continues to offer STEM programs to youth.