Some needy children in Springfield will be able to experience the joy of the arts due to the generosity of the Rotary Club of Springfield Southeast. Other students will improve their reading skills, take school field trips to learn about gardening and bees, get information and coaching on how to make their homes cleaner and safer, receive healthy food while they’re staying at a temporary home, and improve their art skills as they try to overcome homelessness.
Southeast Rotary Club makes grants totaling $5,000 to local nonprofit groups every six months. The funds are from members’ annual donations with their club dues. Rusty Worley, chair of the Community Grants Committee, announced the latest six grant recipients on Feb. 22.
The Springfield Public Schools Foundation received a $1,000 grant for 100 fourth- and fifth-grade students at Sherwood Elementary to take several field trips. They include trips to the e-Factory to learn how to start a business, to a medical clinic to see how doctors and nurses treat patients and communicate effectively, to urban gardens to learn how to start one at Sherwood, and to an apiary to see how bees make honey. (The photo above shows Tom Masterson, assistant to the principal at Sherwood); Southeast Rotary member Natalie Murdock, executive director of the SPS Foundation; Amber Howard, a Sherwood teacher; and Rusty Worley, Community Grants Committee chair.)
Springfield Victory Mission received a $500 grant for art supplies for its new Expressions of Victory art training program. The program provides a means for artists experiencing homelessness to improve their craft and learn how to make money so they can become financially independent. Victory Mission Executive Director Jason Hynson is a member of Southeast Rotary.
Abilities First received a $1,000 grant for tuition scholarships for several Boys and Girls Club members and students with developmental disabilities to attend two five-week art classes and a 14-week storytelling/theater class. In addition to learning creative arts, students work on social and communication skills, fine and gross motor skills, and pre-employment skills.
Champion Athletes of the Ozarks received a $500 grant to enroll 10 students in its reading program. Champion Athletes helps children and adults with disabilities build self-esteem, self-confidence and social skills. It teaches decision-making skills, team skills, appropriate behaviors and the feeling of success through classes on reading, basic money, math, storm preparedness and physical fitness.
The Drew Lewis Foundation at The Fairbanks received a $1,000 grant for its Healthy Home Educator Program, which is part of The Northwest Project that helps people in Springfield overcome poverty. The Healthy Home Educator Program provides monthly in-home environmental assessments, education, support for behavior change, and resources to help families eliminate unhealthy conditions in their homes. The funds will pay for household cleaning supplies, lice treatments, bed bug covers, laundry soap, bleach and other cleaning items.
Isabel’s House received a $1,000 grant for its Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids program. The program provides fresh fruits, vegetables and other perishable foods for children temporarily staying at Isabel’s House because of family crises. The funds will also pay for educational field trips and learning opportunities for the children, such as trips to farmers markets and farms.
The Community Grants program is another way that Springfield Southeast Rotary Club is More Than a Lunch Club.