Pride of Quakertown, or POQ as its more commonly known, steps up when cash strapped families can’t.
By footing the costs for instrument or music lessons so kids can join band, gymnastics and team sports fees like basketball, swimming, classes at the YMCA or even Tae Kwon Do, POQ makes a difference in the lives of Quakertown Community School District children.
“POQ has helped my students by offering them scholarships for extra-curricular activities such as basketball, art (or) music classes, horseback riding, and karate,” said Eileen Bruchak, Quakertown Elementary School counselor. Bruchak works with students in Grades K-5.
Giving back to the community by providing opportunities to disadvantaged youngsters is at the heart of Pride of Quakertown.
“Our focus has been the community and its children by helping them to (engage) and keeping them involved in positive activities,” said Pride of Quakertown Co-Founder Jen Reich.
The non-profit organization founded by Jen Reich and her brother-in-law Kevin Reich in 2010 offers financial assistance to Quakertown youth to help them become athletes, musicians, or artists.
“Many of these students would not have the opportunity to do an after school activity without a POQ scholarship,” Bruchak said.
Fueled by volunteer time and commitment and funded by various events, and private and corporate donations and sponsorships, POQ continues to grow.
“As a community bank, we (QNB) want to do things in the community and to see kids who want to do extra-curricular activities and can’t afford them, (get the chance) that is where we can help,” said Dave Freeman, President and CEO of QNB in Quakertown.
Freeman said while some employees may volunteer to work tables at events, QNB’s primary role is financial sponsorship. “By funding this organization” QNB becomes a partner in providing benefits to help children, according to Freeman.
Participating in group sports or other team activities youngsters learn about teamwork and how to get along with others, valuable skills on the road success in adulthood, Freeman said.
Reich said over the past six years more than $180,000 had been provided to as many as 90 children in Grades K-12 to support extra-curricular participation.
Last year, youngsters participated in roughly 7,000 hours of activities because of the financial support provided by POQ.
While many youth are sponsored at the primary level, Reich stressed support was available up to high school graduation.
Donations can be general or specific to an activity. “My life was changed and influenced by being part of a team. To be able to forward that to local children continues to drive what we do,” Reich said.
POQ continues to address the needs of vulnerable youth who might not otherwise have a chance to learn how to swing a bat, dribble a basketball, play the C-major scale on a trumpet or enjoy the majesty of a horseback ride.
“There are tremendous social and emotional benefits for students participating in extra-curricular activities. The students really enjoy their experiences,” Bruchak said.
To find out more: Sponsorships and donations are welcome year-round. To be a sponsor or volunteer at a fundraising event or for more information about youth eligibility, visit www.prideofquakertown.org.
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