The Oregon Community Foundation's Southern Oregon Leadership Council has awarded nearly $250,000 in grants to five nonprofit organizations working to strengthen mentor programs to improve education for youth in Southern Oregon.

The Oregon Community Foundation's Southern Oregon Leadership Council has awarded nearly $250,000 in grants to five nonprofit organizations working to strengthen mentor programs to improve education for youth in Southern Oregon.

The mentor-program grants were part of a total of almost $3.2 million in grants to area nonprofits during a recent grant cycle. Statewide, the organization made $16.2 million in grants.

The grants to mentor programs are part of OCF's Regional Action Initiative.

"Many children lack the kind of parental support that enables them to grow into well-educated, healthy adults," said Doug Schmor, a leadership council member. "The Southern Oregon Leadership Council wants to increase these young people's chances for success by connecting them with caring adult mentors."

The following mentor programs were funded:

€¢ Citizens for Safe Schools Klamath Falls, $51,815 to support the Kids in the Middle program.

€¢ Grants Pass Family YMCA Grants Pass, $50,000 to support the Guiding Lights Mentoring Program.

€¢ Kids Unlimited, Medford, $50,000 to implement Proyecto Educator, a holistic system for Latino youth at risk of dropping out of school.

€¢ Lake County Education Service District, Lakeview, $50,000 to establish a youth program and to hire a part-time coordinator position in Lake County.

€¢ Southern Oregon Adolescent Study and Treatment Center, Grants Pass, $43,502 to support the School Community Team Mentorship Project, engaging and training a cohort of volunteers to mentor students in eight schools.

Other area grants include:

€¢ ACCESS Inc. Medford, $50,000 to support the Emergency Fund, offering financial assistance to families in crisis.

€¢ Arts Council of Southern Oregon, Medford, $18,399 for a collaboration with Community Works to continue the Lithia Springs Music Program, a music education program fat Lithia Springs Schools.

€¢ Boys and Girls Clubs of the Rogue Valley, Grants Pass, $20,000 for support of the Healthy Habits and Free Meals Program at the Phoenix and Talent sites, providing free supper and health education to club members.

€¢ Butte Falls Community School Partnership, Butte Falls, $10,000 for support of youth-based out-of-school programs, including educational classes, camps and events.

€¢ CASA of Jackson County, Medford, $25,000 to sustain services to children through Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteers.

€¢ Community Health Center, Medford, $40,000 for the Southern Oregon Medication Assistance Coalition to provide emergency prescription assistance for low-income and disabled people in Jackson County.

€¢ Health Care Coalition of Southern Oregon, Medford, $25,000 to increase health-care services for pregnant women.

€¢ Klamath and Lake Community Action Services, Klamath Falls, $11,000 to expand the Family Mentoring Project, to prevent children in at-risk families from entering the foster care system.

€¢ Phoenix Counseling Center, Inc., Phoenix, $39,270 to support Future Quest, providing prevention/intervention services, parenting education and support groups for preteens and teens at several schools.

€¢ Rogue Valley Art Association, Medford, $3,000 for a pilot arts outreach program to help schools meet the curriculum standards set by the Oregon Department of Education.

€¢ Rogue Valley Farm to School, Ashland, $6,000 for support of the Farm to School Program, providing farm and garden-based education for low-income students.

€¢ Rogue Valley Opera Association, Medford, $21,000 for support of a capacity-building project.

€¢ Southern Oregon ESD, Medford, $15,000 for support of the Hispanic Academic Outreach Project, providing after-school tutoring, homework help, college and scholarship application assistance, and social service referrals to young migrant students at South Medford High School and the Medford Opportunity School.

€¢ Southern Oregon Historical Society, Jacksonville, $20,000 to reopen the research library at the society and digitize its catalog of records.

€¢ Southern Oregon University, Ashland, $25,000 for Academia Latina, a one-week residential academic program for Latino students completing grades 7-9.