The Learning Lamp Marks Twenty-Year Milestone with Impact, AdvocacyPosted on September 25, 2023
Johnstown, PA (Sept. 26, 2023) – Twenty years ago on September 26, 2003, The Learning Lamp was founded! The nonprofit organization, which has served hundreds of thousands of children for two decades now, was the brainchild of Dr. Lorraine Nulton, an educational psychologist who saw the need for high-quality, affordable tutoring among struggling learners whose families lacked the ability or resources to help children on their own. Seed money from the Nulton family funded startup of the Johnstown-based nonprofit, which has grown from a single idea and a staff of one—the organization’s founding executive director—to a multi-faceted provider of a wide range of services and a top employer in the Cambria-Somerset region—17th largest in Somerset and 14th largest in Cambria, according to the PA Department of Labor and Industry.
Today, The Learning Lamp employs 728 staff throughout the Southern Alleghenies region and served 34,813 youth/adults from 61 school districts and 70 other schools/organizations in 22 PA counties last year.
“Twenty years is a milestone and a huge accomplishment for any nonprofit organization, especially when you consider that about 30 percent of all nonprofits close within 10 years,” explained Dr. Leah Spangler, president & CEO of The Learning Lamp. “We are very fortunate to have found like-minded community stakeholders that support the work that we do and a workforce that is committed to helping children succeed.”
The organization’s impact speaks for itself. During the 2022-2023 program year, The Learning Lamp:
- Provided year-round care for 845 children while their parents worked without worrying about their children’s safety.
- Awarded $216,354 in preschool tuition assistance to 82 children and $1,070,000 in FREE preschool to 107 children in Bedford, Blair, Cambria, and Somerset counties.
- Filled 16,510 teacher and school nurse absences at 16 school partners in Cambria, Somerset, and Bedford counties, reducing disruption in instruction for 18,300 K-12 students.
- Expanded by 80% the number of students served in our specialized classrooms—providing academic instruction and counseling for students with serious behavioral and disciplinary problems from more than a dozen school districts.
- Successfully returned 105 students at risk of dropping out of school to traditional classrooms including seven high school seniors who graduated with their peers.
In addition to providing direct services to children, families, and schools, The Learning Lamp serves as the Hub of the Early Childhood Alleghenies Shared Services Alliance, a network of nearly 50 early learning providers that benefit from a “strength in numbers” approach to addressing common concerns and issues. Since 2018, The Learning Lamp assumed a leadership role regionally and at the state level in its efforts to stabilize the child care industry, raise the skill level, credentials, and corresponding wages of workers, and help early learning providers save money that can be reinvested into their own programs. Commonly used free resources include staff recruitment, professional development, registered apprenticeship, and higher education pathways toward free college degrees for staff, a registered pre-apprenticeship program that serves as a pipeline for workers, as well as child behavior support, year-round lesson planning resources, human resources consultation, and opportunities for joint fundraising.
The Learning Lamp is a nonprofit organization with a mission to engage all children in the support they need to succeed. We deliver high-quality programs that are affordable and accessible to families of all income levels. In 2022, The Learning Lamp served 34,813 youth/adults from 61 public school districts and 70 other schools and organizations in 22 Pennsylvania counties.
Our programs include: child care and preschool, after-school programs, tutoring, SAT prep, school staffing, alternative education programs for at-risk students, online learning, credit recovery, drug and alcohol prevention programs, and grant writing and project consulting for schools.