The Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation recently awarded 49 grants, totaling $123,661.21, to 40 groups in the Eastern Panhandle dealing with issues related to youth and education.
These grants were made possible thanks to gifts from generous donors, who established the C. Scott and Elizabeth C. Shade Youth Fund, the Jane P. Snyder Youth Fund, the Tom and Virginia Seely Morgan County Children’s Fund, the EWVCF Endowment for the Community, the Bonn Poland Family Roundhouse Recreation Fund, the Frada Fine Berkeley Education Fund, the Calarma Farm Fund, the EWVCF Endowment for Recreation, and the EWVCF Endowment for the Arts.
Nine of these grants, totaling $32,500, went to organizations serving more than one county in the Eastern Panhandle, including CASA of the Eastern Panhandle, Wind Dance Farm & Earth Education Center, and Faith Community Coalition for the Homeless. 21 grants totaling $40,012.37 went to organizations serving Berkeley County. 12 totaling $27,798.84 went to Jefferson County-focused organizations; 7 totaling $23,350 to Morgan County organizations.
The majority of funding went to programs addressing basic needs in our area, with $40,500 being used to buy diapers, wipes, formula, food, and clothes, and to provide shelter for the most vulnerable populations. Karen Reyes of Renewed Life Ministries, Inc., a group serving both Jefferson and Berkeley counties that received a $3,000 Youth grant, kindly wrote that the Foundation “will probably never know what [their] support does for our local families […] with you, we can help.”
Public schools in the Eastern Panhandle received $40,311.21. Katlin Grantham at Washington High School plans to use her grants to install Water Tower Gardens and to further fund the Washington’s FFA Community Meals. Susie Howell and MJ Pavlik will use their grant to fund a dedicated playground for their Pre-K program housed at Musselman Middle School. Laura Bohrer, a 6th grade science teacher at Spring Mills Middle School, received exactly $785, which she will use to buy an Ultraviolet Sterilization Goggle Cabinet and twenty extra pairs of goggles, ensuring hygiene and safety for her students.
Programs tackling the social and emotional health of our youth received $12,650. Berkeley Heights Elementary School will now be able to implement a Calming Corner, which will be especially helpful for students with autism, ADHD, and/or Attachment disorders. The Martin Robison Delany Opportunity Learning Center will be able to continue to provide Yoga sessions, shown to decrease behavioral referrals and increase GPA in their students.
Art-based Youth programs received $10,600 in funding. Black Cat Music Cooperative’s $2,600 grant will allow them to invite Dominic “Shodekeh” Talifero, Innovator-in-Residence at Towson University’s College of Fine Arts and Communication, to participate in their Youth Mentorship Program. Taylor Fox and Kelli Polen of South Jefferson Elementary plan to use their $1,000 grant to create a mural in their school made of ceramic tiles decorated by students.
Other issues receiving funding include recreation programs, receiving $9,200; traditional educational programs, receiving $22,953.84; technological and equipment upgrades, receiving $15,335.37; and educational programs related to environmental, agricultural, and conservation issues, receiving $12,422.
Potomac Valley Audubon Society, who received four grants totaling $8,500, will be able to continue to host their “Nature in the Neighborhood” summer camps for children in high poverty neighborhoods in both Berkeley and Jefferson counties. Caitlin Mitchell, a physical education teacher at North Jefferson Elementary School, was awarded a $2,500 grant to install a rock climbing wall in the school’s gym. Rock climbing “teaches focus, concentration, body mindfulness, […] stability, […] [and] full body resistance strength,” Mitchell wrote in the application. Other teachers and educators will use their grants to buy books, math games, and to upgrade classroom technology. April Bageant of Bunker Hill Elementary School impressed our Grants committee with her plan to purchase letter magnets and cookie sheets for a guided reading program for her very young students.