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South Asian Youth Action gets $425K grant to support COVID learning loss

SAYA grant
South Asian Youth Action of Elmhurst received a $425K grant to close the learning loss gap caused by two years of COVID education interruptions. (Photo courtesy of SAYA)

Elmhurst-based South Asian Youth Action (SAYA) was the recipient of a $425,000 grant from TD Bank, to continue to provide academic readiness programming to bridge the learning loss caused by its youth’s inability to attend in-person school during the pandemic.

SAYA launched a peer mentorship initiative last March, which matches former SAYA participants with current high school youth to manage school expectations, discuss college applications and more.

While the organization is South-Asian focused, it remains committed to providing opportunities to youth from all backgrounds, including vulnerable and marginalized communities in Queens that were hardest hit by COVID-19 education educational disruptions

“SAYA is pleased to receive this critical grant award from TD Bank, which will go far in creating a meaningful impact for our youth in addressing the devastating learning loss they experienced as a result of the pandemic,” SAYA Executive Director Sonia B. Sisodia said. “Throughout the 2020-21 school year, SAYA continued to provide high-quality academic readiness and mentoring programming that worked to support youth in their academic and social development when they were unable to attend school in person. With the support of TD Bank and SAYA’s holistic programming efforts, we can continue the work of ensuring our youth continue to thrive in school, remain at or above their grade level and be prepared for in-person learning.”

SAYA grant
South Asian Youth Action of Elmhurst received a $425K grant to close the learning loss gap caused by two years of COVID education interruptions. (Photo courtesy of SAYA)

TD Bank selected SAYA as one of six U.S. organizations to receive a grant.

“As a mother who has experienced the challenges of remote learning firsthand, I am thrilled to support these incredible organizations that are finding meaningful ways to help those students who have fallen behind catch up,” said Shelley Sylva, head of U.S. Corporate Citizenship at TD Bank. “At TD, we continue to focus our efforts on making sure the communities we serve have an equitable COVID-19 recovery and I am eager to see how this year’s grantees will change lives and offer opportunities for individuals driving the future of innovation, talent and growth.”

In all, 15 organizations were awarded grants worldwide ranging from $300,000 to $1 million through the TD Ready Challenge and more than 300 applicants submitted their organization’s initiatives for consideration.

“Intermittent school closures and in-class learning disruptions over the last two years have created significant challenges for both students and teachers,” TD Bank Group Senior VP Janice Farrell Jones said. “Through the 2021 TD Ready Challenge, we are proud to provide funding to 15 organizations that will scale innovative programs designed to help tackle predicted learning loss. Their efforts will help create opportunities for students so that they can feel more confident about their futures and so that they can succeed in a changing world.”

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