Project Adventure receives $1M grant

COVINGTON - Project Adventure is expanding its program thanks to a little help from the federal government.

The campus won a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor for its alternative education program.

"I think it's a great honor," said Director Cindy Simpson. "It's a good thing for Newton County."

Sixteen grants were awarded in the category, and the campus beat out more than 100 other applicants.

Project Adventure applied for the grant in May, and Simpson said it was supposed to start Sept. 1, so when she didn't hear from the department, she assumed the organization didn't win.

"I got the call ... I was surprised," she said. "I was shocked by the great news."

Project Adventure is a group home located on Elks Club Road in Covington for at-risk youth. According to the organization's Web site at www.projectadventurekids.org, about 20 percent of the youth attend public school and the rest attend classes in the morning at the PA Kids accredited school on campus. In the afternoons, the residents attend therapy groups.

Simpson said she doesn't know when the organization will get the money, but she thinks by the first of the year. When the funds come in, she said, they will be used to hire tutors, provide supplies, materials and computer equipment and cover other costs of running the program.

"(The program) will target kids at risk for not graduating with a high school diploma or those who are at risk for not graduating or are behind on credits," Simpson said.

The organization also plans to offer courses and help students get job placement and work experience. Some of the programs will be run from Project Adventure's building on Elks Club Road, while others may operate out of the old Cousins building or other locations.

The program will be specifically for Newton County students as part of a partnership with the Department of Family and Children Services, the Department of Juvenile Justice, Sharp Learning Center and the Newton County School System.

"We live here, and we need to be part of the community," Simpson said.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.