By James Wright, Special to the AFRO, [email protected]

The Ivy Community Charities of Prince George’s County received $35,000 from the Prince George’s County Local Development Council (PGCLDC) and a Community Partnership Grants for $10,000. Cheryl Garnette, executive director of Ivy Community Charities, laid out what her organization plans to do with the money.

“We are excited about winning the $35,000,” Garnette told the AFRO. “We will use it to expand our tutoring program to another school in Prince George’s County. Presently, we are working with the students at William Beanes Elementary School in Suitland, Maryland.”

Cheryl Garnette, executive director of Ivy Community Charities of Prince George’s County, plans on expanding her group’s reading program with newly received grant monies. (Courtesy Photo)

Ivy Communities Charities was incorporated by the State of Maryland on Dec. 29, 1986 and is affiliated with the Iota Gamma Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. The board of Ivy Community Charities consists exclusively of Iota Gamma Omega members, one of the AKA alumni chapters in Prince George’s County.

Garnette served as the president of Iota Gamma Omega from 1998-2001. The president of the chapter and Ivy Community Charities is Deidre N. Jackson.

Prince George’s County Council member Karen Toles (D-District 7) is a prominent member of the chapter.

Ivy Community Charities has a facility in Suitland – the Ivy Youth and Family Center – that is designed to address the social, economic and educational needs of families in Prince George’s County.

Ivy Community Charities is a 501c3 organization and has a number of programs in the areas of elementary engagement, a young ladies academy, parent education classes, a scholarship program for college-bound and college-enrolled students and holds an annual cotillion-beautillon event. The grants from the PCGLDC will go towards the Popcorn Club of the Elementary Engagement program, a reading and educational enrichment program at William Beanes Elementary.

Garnette said the PGCLDC specifically will go to expanding the Popcorn Club to Forest Heights Elementary School in Forest Heights, Maryland.

“At Forest Heights, we will focus on improving reading scores just as we have done at William Beanes,” Garnette said. “We have found that some students at William Beanes are two grades behind when it comes to reading and we are committed to remedying that.”

Garnette said there are tutoring sessions and the students who are participating in the Popcorn Club received mentors. “Reading opens the window to the world to these young people,” Garnette said. “We are committed to raising elementary school reading scores.”

Garnette said that Ivy Community Charities is not a program of the national office of AKA. However, she said the national office does sanction programs that address students with special needs. The Community Partnership grant will go towards the operations of Ivy Community Charities.