children playing soccer with hands in the air

To help support school-aged children in their foster or relative placement transitions, Families Helping Families of Iowa offers activity scholarships through our Spread Your Wings Activity Scholarship program.

Families Helping Families of Iowa launched the Spread Your Wings (SYW) program in 2009 to help provide scholarship funding for children in foster care, relative placement, or other approved placement, by providing support to participate in extracurricular activities.

Studies have shown that extracurricular activities for children help increase awareness in the classroom and provide a sense of belonging, which positively impacts self-esteem and self-discipline.

Funded Activities & Experiences

The SYW program funds a range of activities for school-aged children including, but not limited to:

  • Art lessons
  • Music programs and lessons
  • Special Olympics
  • Sports – including gymnastics, martial arts, soccer, football, basketball, etc.
  • Summer camps
  • Other children’s interests

Program fees covered by Spread Your Wings

SYW scholarships also help cover various program and activity fees, including but not limited to:

  • Membership fees
  • Supplies
  • Equipment
  • Uniforms and/or specialty footwear

Who Qualifies for Spread Your Wings Activity Scholarships?

Any school-aged child in foster care, relative placement or other approved placement by the Department of Human Services are eligible to apply. Children must be between the ages of 1 and 18. If a child is over the age of 18, he or she must have re-entered into foster care or a special needs basis.

How to Apply for Spread Your Wings Activity Scholarship

  1. Enroll your child in the class, lesson, sport or activity and request an invoice from the vendor or organization with whom you’re enrolling. Forward the invoice to Families Helping Families of Iowa for payment. Invoices can be scanned and uploaded below, emailed to or dropped off or mailed to our office at 3516 Center Point Road NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402.
  2. Apply for a scholarship through our online application at the bottom of this page.
  3. If your application is approved, Families Helping Families of Iowa will pay the vendor directly. We will not pay for any approved SYW activities without an invoice. Do not pay your invoice prior to approval of your application as we will not reimburse you.

Caregivers only need to apply for a specific class or activity one time. You can only apply for one unique activity every 12 months/calendar year, per child. Families Helping Families of Iowa will continue to pay for the activity as long as the child is enrolled and a monthly invoice is received.

Please note: Each new activity or new enrollment for another child requires the completion of a new application. A child already receiving a Soaring Towards Success Tutoring Scholarship is not eligible for a SYW Activity Scholarship until the next calendar year. A child can not receive a SYW Activity Scholarship and a Soaring Towards Success Tutoring Scholarship in the same year. 

Please Read: Funding Requests & Information

Families must first request financial assistance through the desired program before applying for funding from Families Helping Families of Iowa. Applications must include an invoice for the cost of the activity. In order for funding to continue, an invoice must be provided each month that funding is requested. Failure to provide an invoice each month will result in denial of funding.

Funding will not cover items for which the State of Iowa will reimburse. All requests to Families Helping Families of Iowa are subject to board approval before funds are granted. Requests are reviewed monthly. Families Helping Families of Iowa reserves the right to reject funding for any reason. Checks are made payable directly to the business or organization providing the activity. No checks will be issued directly to foster parents. We are unable to reimburse foster parents for activities which are already paid.

Please Read – New Policy Effective September 9, 2019
In order to continue funding activity scholarships for as many children as possible, our Spread Your Wings Activity Scholarship Program will be limited to $400 per child per 12-month rolling period. (New and renewal applications for the same child may be submitted during the 12th month). This policy only applies to new applications. If you are already receiving funding through our SYW program, your funding will not change during the current term.

Apply Today

Example: Equipment, uniform, classes, etc.
Include total amount per month. If there is a registration fee on the first month, please include this as well. Format should include the dollar sign, decimal point, and cents (e.g. $40.00).
Please allow at least two weeks for processing.
Click or drag a file to this area to upload.
Your application will not be processed until your first invoice is received. If an electronic invoice is not available, you may mail or bring the invoice to our office.