March 09, 2005

Saluki Kids' Academy wins $50,000 grant

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A popular summer outreach program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale is receiving a $50,000 grant to offer various programs to 200 students in the region.

Saluki Kids' Academy is receiving funding from the National Youth Sports Program for a five-week day camp program that starts in late June. The program is for economically disadvantaged youths, ages 10 to 16.

The program's emphasis is on providing healthy starts for children through good nutrition and physical fitness, along with one academic class each day, said Saluki Kids' Academy Director John C. Davis.

Saluki Kids Academy will work with the SIUC Athletics Department, student athletes and coaches in providing activities for children each day, including swimming instruction, Davis said. There also will be an alcohol and drug-prevention curriculum, he said.

The program will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., June 24 through July 29. In addition to receiving daily instruction in three different sports, including a co-ed activity, participants will learn the importance of respect, citizenship and sportsmanship in a diverse society, Davis said.

This is the first year SIUC has received the grant, and Davis is excited with the program's potential.

"We will be teaching youth-centered activities in a safe, positive environment that further the dreams and aspirations of youth," he said.

Saluki Kids' Academy is an outreach program founded three years ago by the College of Education and Human Services. The academy uses University resources to provide academic, recreational and enrichment experiences for Southern Illinois children who have not otherwise had access to those opportunities.

"Given Southern@150's emphasis on service and outreach to the region, this extension of the Saluki Kids' Academy program is a welcome addition," college Dean R. Keith Hillkirk said. "It has the potential to provide additional research opportunities to faculty and, of course, the new resources will be helpful in supporting faculty and students."

The five-week program is held at more than 200 colleges and universities for more than 75,000 youths.

Saluki Kids' Academy is partnering with Southern Illinois Healthcare and the Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale to assist in delivering the services to the appropriate children, Davis said.

"Probably the thing I am most pleased about is it gives us an opportunity to partner with an established and successful national program," Davis said. "It enables us to reach 200 more children, doubling the number of students we have worked with in the past, for an extended period of time."

For more information on the program, contact Davis at 618/453-6468, or by email at You may also visit the academy's Web site at

Serving others and being involved in community outreach programs are among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.