OTHER SMHO PROGRAMS
LEARNS (LITTLETON EDUCATION AWARDS RECOGNIZING KNOWLEDGE AND SCHOLARSHIP
In 1993, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization was created with five Littleton citizens, business leaders and the SMHO Executive Director serving as board members. The board’s mission is to brighten the future of the children living in subsidized housing, enhance their self-esteem, and reward and encourage their excellence.
As a result of the success of the LEARNS program, a scholarship foundation was created to provide assistance with college scholarships. Low-income graduating seniors in the community are invited to write an essay about their career plans and apply for a college scholarship through SMHO. Students are required to maintain a 2.5 GPA and attend school on a full-time basis. Since its inception, the Scholarship Board has provided over $80,000 in college scholarships to graduating seniors. The scholarship program was expanded in 2005 to include Section 8 participant families and non-South Metro Housing Options low-income families at all Littleton Public High Schools, including Heritage High School, Arapahoe High School, Options High School and Littleton High School. In 2008, the program was expanded to include vocational and technical schools. In 2009, Heads of Household and spouses in SMHO housing who are learning new job skills or obtaining college degrees for new careers were included in the consideration for scholarships.
The Sneaker Fund was established by SMHO in order to assist its families with those items that many times preclude their children from participating in activities at school. Examples of Sneaker Fund awards include money for sports uniforms and shoes, tuition to various camps, money for musical instruments, and funds for down payments on braces, school supplies and books. Fund-raising events occur throughout the year.
Each year, the Scholarship Board recognizes students in our family units who achieve perfect attendance for the year in school (grades K –12). A special evening ceremony is held each July and the children are recognized for their achievement. In addition, they are awarded savings bonds, movie tickets, restaurant coupons and other gifts donated by area merchants. Students achieving Perfect Attendance for one semester only receive a certificate of recognition and a gift card.
PACK IN THE BACKPACKS
In 2006, SMHO began the “Pack the Backpacks” program. SMHO students receive backpacks filled with age appropriate school supplies. Local merchants, City of Littleton and SMHO employees provide additional donations to the program. SMHO has received state and national awards for resident and client services for this program.
SMHO sponsors activities for residents of Amity Plaza, Bradley House and Alyson Court periodically throughout the year.
SMHO coordinates annual Adopt-A-Family programs for families during the holidays each year. Sponsors are matched with SMHO families. Families provide wish lists to the sponsors and gifts and food is given to families. SMHO also sponsors residents to the annual Arapahoe County Santa Claus Shop. SMHO also works with “License To Dream”, a non-profit organization, in providing Thanksgiving meals to SMHO families and residents of senior buildings desiring a traditional meal.