By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
With the help of local grants, middle school girls will get a chance to dissect sharks, a team of hockey players will no longer look like misfits on the ice, and volunteers with Habitat won’t have to worry about falling off roofs.
More than $43,000 was awarded Wednesday by the Bowling Green Community Foundation.
“Man, that was a lot,” Kristin Otley, a member of the foundation board, said after all the grants were handed out.
“We support such wonderful, diverse programs,” Otley said.
The local grants are also assisted by the Toledo Community Foundation.
“We read your proposals and they were just amazing,” she told the grant recipients.
The BG Community Foundation holds a golf outing at Stone Ridge in the summer to raise funds for the annual grants.
Following is a list of the programs granted funding for this year:
BG American Association of University Women was given $1,020 to fund Tech Trek 2018. The one-week residential science, technology, engineering and math program for eighth grade girls from Bowling Green Middle School allows the girls to spend the week at BGSU. John Roberts Zibbel described how the students get to learn through hands-on projects such as dissecting sharks and coding.
Bowling Green Middle School was awarded $2,000 for the One School, One Voice Program. The funding will help with the expense of bringing author Gordon Korman to the middle school, and to help purchase one of his books for every student. “We want to get students excited about reading,” the middle school librarian said.
BG Parks and Recreation Department was granted $3,000 for materials for Phase 2 of the Bowling Green Community Center mosaic windows. The second phase will work on mosaic pieces for the other side of the center’s lobby. The goal is to engage the public in a community arts project, which Phase 1 has done, said Ivan Kovacevic, of the parks and rec department. “It inspired community participation from all over the place,” he said.
Bowling Green Youth Baseball at Carter Park was awarded $1,920 to help purchase 24 practice Tanner Tees for the Tee Ball, Rookie and Pee Wee League teams. Tim Dunn, president of the program, said as many as 400 youngsters play ball at the park. The park is staffed by volunteers, so “it’s a huge asset” when the program gets grant funding, Dunn said.
Black Swamp Ice Frogs hockey team was given $2,500 to help buy equipment and uniforms for the team designed for players with special needs. Heather Sayler and Sue Kepling explained the expense of the team’s ice time and adaptive equipment. The kids have never had new equipment since the team formed five years ago, so they not only look mismatched at tournaments, but “it smells,” Sayler said.
BG Parks & Recreation Foundation was granted $1,500 to help purchase supplies and educational materials about bicycle safety and pedestrian education and awareness. The program will partner with Safe Communities of Wood County and the BG Bicycle Safety Commission.
Horizon Youth Theatre was awarded $2,024 to help with expenses for the 2018 Festival of Shorts, which are short plays written by the children in the theater program, explained Tom Edge, president of the Horizon Youth Theatre. The grant will also help with summer programs on everything from puppetry to Shakespeare, he said.
Brown Bag Project was given $1,000 to support the Clean and Healthy Bowling Green program, which is intended to fill the need for hygiene products that are lacking at local food pantries. The items are not covered by food stamps and are often unaffordable for lower income families. The Brown Bag Project gives five to seven days of food for families in need, but hygiene items are needed, Amy Jeffers said. “This is very appreciated,” she said.
Cocoon Shelter was awarded $4,316 to help purchase refrigerators, freezers and pantries for families at the shelter, which houses survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Kathy Mull, director of the Cocoon, said the equipment is desperately needed in the family kitchen at the shelter that was opened last year.
Connecting Kids to Meals was granted $2,000 to provide hot, nutritious meals throughout the year to kids in low-income and underserved areas at no cost. The funds will pay for 10,000 meals to kids in need during the summer or after school, said Wendi Huntley. “There are so many kids who go home hungry,” she said.
Downtown Foundation Inc. was awarded $1,500 to help purchase updated technology to support the promotion of downtown businesses. Managing director Mary Hinkelman said the organization in the “heart of our town” relies heavily on volunteers and BGSU students who must bring their own laptops to work. The grant will “help us bring technology into this century,” she said.
First United Methodist Church Food Pantry was given $5,000 to help with the purchase of a box truck to transport and secure large amounts of food needed for the community. Heather Sayler explained the need, saying “the food insecurity in our area is really alarming.” The demands at the food pantry are growing, with the monthly numbers in December adding up to 362 people being helped. The church program also provides senior food boxes.
Habitat for Humanity of Wood County was granted $2,054 to support the Build Safety BG Project for training in construction and appropriate gear for volunteers working on the first Habitat house being built in Bowling Green, said Mark Ohashi, the Habitat for Humanity director in Wood County. Kristen Jenkinson, of Habitat, said the money will be spent on safety harnesses to keep volunteer workers from falling off the roof. “We’re really excited about this project,” she said.
Wood Lane Residential Services was given $5,000 to purchase five mobile “sit to stand” transfer platforms for patient mobility. The lifts will allow aging people to maintain their independence, by allowing them to help themselves, plus save staff from injuries.
United Way in Wood County was awarded $2,100 to pay for school book bags and supplies for 2018 for the “Back to School Fair” for families in need. Sue Clanton of United Way and Harley Maddox of the Salvation Army supplied 300 kids with backpacks last year. “It is an incredible thing to see,” Clanton said. “To see the kids’ faces when they actually put that backpack on.” Maddox said the grant was “a blessing.” “This is one less expense they need to think about with the ever-expanding list of school supplies,” she said.
Wood County Historical Museum received $600 to support educational outreach programs for senior citizens in Bowling Green. Barb Hayden described how the funding will help the museum’s education director take programs to the senior center at no charge to the seniors.
Wooster Green was awarded $5,000 to help with the creation of the town square. “This has been part of our community discussion for the last three to four years,” Mayor Dick Edwards said. The gathering place is “a genuine green right in the heart of our city,” he said. “We are enormously grateful. It’s all coming together in a remarkable fashion.” The grant request was written by Barbara Moses. “I can’t wait till we break ground,” she said. “I am so excited.”
Wood County District Public Library was granted $475 for the purchase of documentary films for the library’s collection. Michael Penrod, library director, noted the value of supporting the role of media in education.