SUPPORT

“FURNISH THE FUTURE”
CAMPAIGN LAUNCHES IN SUPPORT OF
SIMON YOUTH ACADEMY AT OPRY MILLS

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After being closed for more than two years following the historic Nashville flood in May of 2010, the Simon Youth Academy at Opry Mills will reopen this August and once again serve Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) students who are at risk for dropping out.

Now, Nashville area residents can help write the story of the school’s return by making a gift to Simon Youth Foundation, the nonprofit organization supporting the school’s reconstruction.

In the style of a gift registry, a donation page has been established at SYF.org to allow the Nashville community and other supporters to directly contribute to the construction of the new school, including the purchase of student desks and seating and learning resources like white boards and monitors.

“Gifts supporting the Academy at Opry Mills are a sound investment in the city’s future, and we are hopeful that Nashville residents will take ownership of this new school by contributing to the cause,” said SYF President and CEO J. Michael Durnil, Ph.D. “This is not about furnishing classrooms; this is about securing the future of Nashville by keeping young people in school so that they can become active members of our community.”

In a first for Metro Schools, the Academy at Opry Mills will utilize concepts from the book The Third Teacher: 79 Ways You Can Use Design to Transform Teaching & Learning. With innovative use of space and design, the Academy will promote collaborative and active learning while offering flexibility in the layout of learning spaces. The environment will engage students in new ways and benefit student-teacher interaction.

“For the students at the Academy, the traditional classroom setting did not work,” Durnil says. “We will be creating a non-traditional environment that will ignite hope in students, giving them the confidence to be successful and earn their high school diploma.”

Gifts made through the gift registry page at SYF.org will help fund a $350,000 grant from Simon Youth Foundation to Metro Schools for the Academy build out, and the school will operate in partnership between the two organizations with support from Opry Mills.

To support the reopening of the Academy at Opry Mills, donors can log on to http://www.syf.org/support-syf/donate-in-support-of-the-simon-youth-academy-at-opry-mills. While suggested gift amounts are posted at the page, donations at any level are encouraged. SYF is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization, and all gifts to the Academy construction are tax deductible.

The Simon Youth Academy at Opry Mills is one of two Metro Schools supported by SYF. The second is the Simon Youth Academy at Hickory Hollow, which opened to serve the students displaced by the flood-forced closure of the school at Opry Mills in 2010. Between the two Academies, SYF and MNPS will annually serve as many as 500 at-risk Nashville youth.

The reopening of The Simon Youth Academy at Opry Mills follows the recent return of Opry Mills as the largest outlet and value retail shopping, dining, and entertainment destination in Tennessee. With more than 200 popular stores, plus an unmatched selection of family-friendly dining options and entertainment venues, Opry Mills is a top destination and a vital economic force, providing jobs, impacting tourism, and generating revenue.

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