Paul Clarke’s Living Legacy Greatly Benefits Area Youth
For the past six years the Paul Clarke Foundation has been generous enough to provide the Wayne Township Trustee’s office with a grant for the youth “Computer Explorers Camp”. The camp was designed to provide low-income children with the opportunity to participate in a high tech learning environment and to teach them the computer literacy skills necessary to be a part of America’s mainstream. By offering these young minds another chance to grow and dream, our office is attempting to address the long-term causes of poverty by showing the importance of education to young minds. We understand that schools, churches and parents are reinforcing this message, but we believe it is also our responsibility. In the past, township programs centered on sports and recreation, these methods do reach children but we wanted to center our approach on education and technical skill building.
Our program begins this year on June 13th and runs through the first week of August. We pick up kids from two-day care centers, provide them with a meal and teach them computer skills in a fun, camp-like setting. The program targets children in grades one through six and the grant specifically indicates children from the inner-city. The curriculum is the only one of its kind in the tri-state area. The Computer Tots organization has been our partner in this program and their innovative teachers, materials and staff makes the program one of the most unique in this area. Each week a letter is sent home with the students informing the parents of the subject matter for that week and a list of computer literacy skills taught. To relate the computer learning experience to a real life experience the children also take weekly field trips to places like Hilger’s Farm Market (to pick strawberries), Science Central, and the Lincoln Museum, to name just a few. The program culminates with an awards banquet where the children are presented with participation and attendance awards and their accomplishments are placed on display for all to see.
This program has affected 600 of the most vulnerable citizens in our community. Our program and our partnership with other community agencies and foundations, allows us to provide this learning tool at no cost to the taxpayer. The program actually takes place in our office, which for a few weeks of the year, is transformed into an enjoyable camp where interesting experiences and education play hand in hand.
The program would not be possible without a generous donation from the Paul Clarke Foundation. Here is a little history from the foundation’s website regarding the man whose legacy still changes lives in Fort Wayne.
The Paul Clarke Story
Paul Clarke began his career as an attorney in private practice for 28 years in Cleveland. At the height of his success in Cleveland, a good friend offered him an opportunity to become corporate counsel and executive vice-president of a small but promising van-line company in Fort Wayne. He accepted and moved to Fort Wayne to receive a salary that was one-third of the pay he had made at his law practice in the previous year. His wife and other friends thought he was crazy but even so, Paul and Helen Clarke moved to Fort Wayne in 1954 where he was key in the growth of North American Van Lines.‑
Mr. Clarke was a very successful man by the time he retired in 1970 from North American. He was frugal and held a lot of stock with the company. When PepsiCo purchased North American Van Lines his stock was converted to PepsiCo stock and increased in value. Upon his retirement, Mr. Clarke took on the task of becoming the executive director for the Fort Wayne Community Foundation. Having served on the Board of the Fort Wayne Community Foundation for one year, he was interested in growing the foundation’s assets. He thought it had the potential to do much good in the charitable affairs of the community.‑
No matter how one looks at charitable giving, Paul and Helen Clarke’s decision to move to Fort Wayne has made our community a better place to live. Their legacy to our community includes The Paul Clarke Foundation and the Advised Clarke Endowment Fund.‑
For more information about The Paul Clarke Foundation; donor advised, scholarship or endowment funds; or the Fort Wayne Community Foundation, please call 260-426-4083.
If you have any ideas for programs that would greatly benefit the community, or would like to sponsor and event to benefit those in need, please contact the Wayne Township Trustee at 449-7000 or you can go to the website at www.waynetownship.org and click on the Comments link and contact us there.
Thanks for helping to make this such an awesome community!
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