Keystone receives grant from Spitz Foundation

SUBMITTED PHOTO From left: Keystone College faculty members and directors of the Keystone College Juvenile Justice Institute, Dr. Deborah Belknap and Stacey Wyland accept a gift of $6,000 from Scranton Area Foundation President/CEO Laura Ducceschi on behalf of the Robert H. Spitz Foundation.

LA PLUME — The Keystone College Juvenile Justice Institute received a $6,000 grant from the Robert H. Spitz Foundation to support the Institute's pilot program, "3 Million Kids" at Charles Sumner Elementary School in Scranton.

The program, the only one of its kind in Lackawanna County, helps elementary school children who have experienced trauma resulting from the incarceration of an immediate family member. Children are taught skills to cope with stressful situations, engage with peers and build positive relationships with adult mentors. The initiative is named "3 Million Kids" because of the estimated three million children in the United States with an incarcerated parent. The grant from the foundation to the Juvenile Justice Institute was made in 2019.

Founded in 2018, the Juvenile Justice Institute offers programs and training aimed at reducing juvenile incarceration and helping children cope with traumatic situations. Research has shown that intervention and social support can help reduce stress during such events and lessen the likelihood of long-term negative outcomes. The Institute is in the process of developing a restorative practices model that can be customized to address the needs of individual schools. The pilot program at Sumner will provide information necessary for that model.

Administered by the Scranton Area Foundation, the Robert H. Spitz Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports initiatives and programs serving the residents of Lackawanna County and Northeastern Pennsylvania. Robert H. Spitz was born in Scranton and was a 1955 graduate of Scranton Central High School and the University of Miami, Florida. Before retirement, Spitz had been employed by the U.S. Department of Labor and was also the owner of several local Arby's restaurants. The Robert H. Spitz Foundation was established from his estate in 2015 and has provided more than $1.3 million in funding to the community.

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