Community Foundation announces 2018 grant recipients
As part of its annual presentation on Wednesday November 14, the Merrill Area Community Foundation announced 13 grants totaling $9,507 have been approved for the “Beyond Crayons and Computers” grant program to schools throughout MAPS and parochial schools. Funded through the Foundation, the Beyond Crayons and Computers program invites teams of teachers from 3-year-old programs through the high school to submit grant applications that are not only innovative and creative but also involve parents, teachers and other members of the community.
According to a press release from the foundation, “The Merrill Area Community Foundation has been impressed with the variety of innovative and inspired projects that will not only enrich the educational experience, but also involves community members or groups. This year’s grants were awarded to both public and parochial schools, from Elementary Schools to Merrill High School.
“The annual grants to the Beyond Crayons and Computers program are in addition to the grants we have provided to local organizations including Haven, Inc., Merrill Soccer Association, Girl Scouts, St. Vincent de Paul, Disaster Preparedness for Senior Citizens, Merrill Youth Softball, Athletic Park Improvement Project, Merrill Free Clinic, Bell Tower Residence, EMT Paramedic Upgrade, Merrill Rotary Club, Merrill Chamber of Commerce Foundation, United Way for 211 development, Merrill Historical Society, River District Development Foundation, Three Rivers United Temporary Housing (TRUTH) Our Sister’s House, City of Merrill Parks Development Fund, Normal Park Gazebo Fund, Merrill City Band, River Bend Trail, NTC Foundation, Big Brothers/Big Sisters New Website Development, Merrill Enrichment Center, and Northwoods Veterans Post Raise the Flag.”
The following is a listing of this year’s grant recipients:
*Veterans Pen Project Streamline Prairie River Middle School $1,000
*Sensory Walk Washington Elementary School $550
*Drumming Up Inter-Generational Engagement Northern Achievement Center $155
*Fab Lab & Elementary School Partnership STEAM Merrill High School $650
*Spread Kindness Like Confetti Washington Elementary School $1,000
*Family Astronomy Night St. Francis Xavier Catholic School $1,000
*T.E.A.M. Together Everyone Achieves More Washington Elementary School $1,000
* “Friends” Merrill High School $1,000
* Wildcat Choir on Tour! Washington Elementary School $500
* MADA Garden Project Merrill Adult Diploma Academy $627
* SFX Theatre Project – Big River St. Francis Xavier Catholic School $400
* Outdoor Education Retreat 2018 St. Francis Xavier Catholic School $750
* Team S.E.R.V.E. (Service with Enthusiasm,
* Responsibility & Value for Everybody) Kate Goodrich Elementary $875
Highlights of this year’s recipients include the PRMS Technology Education and Engineering students being awarded a $1,000 grant for the third consecutive year, to continue to make handmade wooden pens for the Never Forgotten Honor Flight Program in our area. According to Tech Ed instructor Pete McConnell, who spearheaded the program; the program has now resulted in 900 pens being manufactured by PRMS students and donated to Honor Flight Veterans.
Washington Elementary School’s ‘Spread Kindness like Confetti’ program was also a repeat recipient.
As a result of the school garnering it’s second consecutive $1,000 grant for the initiative, Washington students will once again be hard at work this year with creating and delivering care packages to the Military, Police and Firefighters, as well as appreciation bags to school families, and Bags of Sunshine items to Merrill citizens.
The new MAPS Fab Lab will put it’s $650 grant award to work this year by bringing in all MAPS 5th grade art students to work on a STEAM Mosaic Tile Project. As part of the project, students will design personalized 6” x 6” two-color tiles; to showcase what they are proud of in Merrill. Students will then program CNC (Computer Numerical Control) equipment to produce the tiles using a free online software called Easel. Their ideas will be transferred to X-Carve machines, which are CNC routers that take their design from paper, to digital, and finally bring them to life. Their completed projects will be displayed at area businesses on a rotating schedule.
Other highlights of this year’s recipients include:
•Students at Northern Achievement Center partnering with Jenny Tower residents to provide chair yoga classes twice monthly. This will serve as a fitness and strength training for both the residents of Jenny Tower as well as the students. More importantly is the opportunity to develop and nurture inter-generational relationships.
•Students at the Merrill Adult Diploma Academy (MADA) rebuilding a greenhouse at their school site. This will include repairing the greenhouse and building four large raised beds and a fence surrounding the area. Students will learn to plant, harvest, can and freeze produce. Surplus produce will be donated within the Merrill community.
•Washington 4th & 5th grade students partnering with the Merrill Parks and Recreation Department to create a Sensory Walk at an area park. Families and children will engage their gross motor skills, spark conversation, and use their imagination as they walk, hop and jump along the sensory walk. A Sensory Walk will be created at Washington School as well.
The Merrill Area Community Foundation is supported by individuals, corporations, and foundations as a means of giving back to their community. The Beyond Crayons and Computers program began in 2006 and is designed to enhance and reward innovative teaching, learning, and special motivational activities in our schools. Over $129,000, including $9,507 this year, has been awarded to our schools since 2006.
Renea Frederick, Board President of the Merrill Area Community Foundation, notes the importance of innovation in our children’s learning. The children also learn they can contribute to our community at any age.
“The Merrill Community Foundation is happy to invest in the worthy, innovative educational projects being proposed by our Merrill-area teachers. Our ‘Beyond Crayon and Computer’ monetary grants help in achieving those positive experiences for students,” Frederick stated.
Donations may be sent to the Merrill Area Community Foundation Fund at Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin, 501 First St., Suite 2600, Wausau, WI 54403.