LAKEWOOD RANCH COMMUNITY FUND GRANT TO LOCAL YMCAThe Lakewood Ranch Community Fund (LWRCF) recently awarded a $15,000 matching grant to the Manatee County's branch of the YMCA in Lakewood Ranch. This 2010-2011 Teen Outreach Program grant represents the fourth consecutive year of financial support for this vital program. The LWRCF President Keith Davey stated, "The Lakewood Ranch Community Fund recognizes the tremendous difference this program has made in the lives of teens and in strengthening the role of the LWR branch of the YMCA in the life of the LWR community."The Teen Outreach Programs have several components: The 5th Quarter Events, the year-round Park Programs, The Nolan Middle School Mentoring Program, and the Town Hall Teen Nights. Each of the programs helps provide much needed fun, constructive, and safe activities for area teens. Scott Morin, Branch Director, knows the merits of The Teen Outreach Programs. "These programs have been effective in lessening the amount of teen vandalism in Lakewood Ranch. The success of this big outreach initiative has helped open the doors to some new programs we have wanted to offer," claims Morin.The popular 5th Quarter Events, held on Friday nights after local high school football games (hence the "5th Quarter"), are held at least ten times each school year. Teens gather at the YMCA to enjoy pizza, soft drinks, dodge ball and basketball tournaments, video games, live bands, and much more. The Park Programs take place at Summerfield and Adventure Parks once a week during the summer and on Wednesday and Thursday from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm during the school year. The program offers various sports, team building exercises, refreshments, and ends each day with discussions about personal goals and aspirations. The teens discuss what it means to be a hero, how to be a role model, and how to be successful. The Nolan Middle School Mentoring Program is held every Wednesday during the school year from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm and has become an important part of the teen outreach effort. The mentoring program builds and strengthens the YMCA's relationship with each participating student and as many faculty members as possible. It also builds awareness in other teens to encourage their participation in these special programs. The Teen Nights are held monthly during the summer at Town Hall. The event provides pizza, soft drinks, video games and other activities for the area teens who attend.