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Sophia Dube is asking the community to help with a GoFundMe campaign for Portland Tennis & Education program

SUBMITTED PHOTO  - Portland Tennis & Education, a nonprofit organization focusing on strengthening youth and community, is on the verge of not opening its preschool due to financial considerations. A GoFundMe campaign has been launched by Lake Oswego's Sophia Dube to raise funds to support the preschool. Lake Oswego resident Sophia Dube, an eighth-grader at Oregon Episcopal School, has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help fund Portland Tennis & Education's (PT&E) preschool program.

PT&E is a nonprofit organization that strengthens youth, inspires families and builds communities by providing after-school enrichment programs for underserved children. In addition to its preschool, it offers one-on-one tutoring, group tennis instruction, life skills instruction and parent advocacy and training to K-12th-grade participants in a year-round program.

The dual-language preschool program serves youngsters ages 3-4, about half of whom speak Spanish as their native language. It was created, PT&E officials say, to help level the playing field for children who had been entering kindergarten unprepared and with below-grade-level skills.

All of PT&E's tuition-free programs are provided to children who qualify for the federal Free & Reduced Lunch program — an indicator of low household income.

Sophia learned that the preschool's future was in jeopardy from her father, Bukhosi Dube, who serves on the PT&E board of directors. Unless enough money is raised, school officials say, the preschool program will have to be eliminated this fall.

"This would mean disaster to many children who rely heavily on this program to provide them with the tools and resources they need to succeed in life," Sophia says on the GoFundMe page. "Please help me save it. Whatever you can do to help is appreciated."

The GoFundMe campaign's goal is to raise $32,400. At last check, donations were approaching $6,000. To help, visit www.gofundme.com/save-the-ptande-preschool.

To learn more about Portland tennis & Education, go to www.ptande.org.

— Barb Randall

Contract Publishing

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