Vail Daily parent company foundation awards grants across the high country | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily parent company foundation awards grants across the high country

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The Bessie Minor Swift Foundation on Thursday announced its 2017 grant winners. Formed by the owners and founder of Swift Communications, the foundation awards grants to programs that promote literacy, reading and writing skills, as well as those focusing on languages and science areas.

Since 2008, more than $450,000 has been awarded to 165 organizations in the communities where Swift Communications conducts business. The Vail Daily and several other Western Slope news operations are part of Swift Communications.

This year, more than $73,000 has been awarded to 35 organizations.

The western Colorado winners are as follows.

Literacy Outreach, Glenwood Springs, $2,640 — Educational materials and learning aids will be used as part of a program for adult English-language learners. Professionally trained volunteer tutors will use books purchased with this money to teach basic reading, writing and math skills to more than 100 students in a one-on-one or family setting.

Family Visitor Programs of Garfield County, Glenwood Springs, $2,000 — Books and materials will be used as part of a "Read to Me" program incorporated into a monthly scheduled home visits by staff members. Children will receive an age- and language-appropriate book and parents will learn how to read to their children and why they should read to them. Money for these purchases is no longer available from other organizations.

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Garfield County Public Library Foundation, Rifle, $2,100 — "Sensory story time" kits will be shared among six branch libraries. Utilized in conjunction with Every Child Ready to Read literacy components, these kits will support caregivers in becoming active participants in the learning process and can be used by multiple children at the same time.

Roaring Fork Conservancy, Basalt, $3,000 — This program incorporates art, science and literacy utilizing a self-published children's book about the American Dipper, an indicator species for healthy rivers. Money will assist with program delivery and will provide copies of the book to the schools and libraries that participate in the program. This book and accompanying programs will inspire over 400 students to become river stewards through the lens of art.

Frisco Elementary School, Frisco, $2,869 — Money will purchase of a variety of STEM-focused "maker" books, Legos, hand tools and bins that will be incorporated in lesson plans and made available to families outside the classroom (either in the media center or at home). These supplies will enable students and their families to experiment, tinker, create and learn.

Timberline Adult Day Services, Frisco, $3,000 — This money will add a literacy component to a life skills training program for adults with intellectual, physical and mental health challenges. Reading and writing assessment coupled with carefully curated materials will be part of program to help participants broaden their employment opportunities and succeed in the workplace.

Integrated Community, Steamboat Springs, $2,800 — Over three weeks as part of the Listo Para Kinder program, students and parents visit their future school and are taught math, reading, writing and social skills. They also receive school supplies to get them off to a successful start in kindergarten.

Heeling Friends Inc., Steamboat Springs, $350 — Heeling Friends is a R.E.A.D. (Reading Education Assistance Dog) program. Registered therapy dogs and their owner/handlers meet weekly with students during the school year to help them build fluency, comprehension and self-confidence. The money will provide bookmarks, dog-story books and photos of the students with their paw-ners as part of this efficient program.

Yampa Valley High School, Steamboat Springs, $1,000 — Books will be purchased as part of a seven-week book study program held quarterly that incorporates reading, discussion and online publishing of book reviews. The grant will help update the book collection and add nonfiction and historical fiction topics of interest to the students. Book discussions will allow students to explore common themes, their own lives and the world in which they live.

Yampatika, Steamboat Springs, $2,500 — This program will provide nature backpacks families can check out throughout the year. These backpacks will include resources about local flora and fauna along with possible activities. Backpacks would include a journal for youth to keep. This is a free of charge program. The money will be used to purchase backpacks and their contents including binoculars, first aid kits, pocket guides, park passes and the journals.

Moffat County High School Agriculture Education Department, Craig, $2,700 — Through this program students, will learn about the skeletal, muscle, digestion and reproduction systems of stock animals. Funds will be used to purchase two life-sized fiberglass animals to be used in the program. Over multiple years this program will help students develop their technical writing skills and their journaling ability in addition to learning about animal science.

Friends of the Grand County Library, Granby, $2,450 — This is a collaborative program to ensure that new moms receive information about the importance of reading to babies. The Grand County Library District will collaborate with the Granby Medical Center to invite new moms to sign up for a library card. When it's activated, the family will receive a book bag that includes a book and a manipulative toy.

The deadline for 2017 grant applications was Feb. 15, and more than 175 applications were received. The foundation grant criteria calls for detail about the number of people who will be helped by the organization's project and how significant a role the Bessie Minor Swift Foundation will play in the program. Applicants must provide a complete description of the project, including objectives and strategies to meet those objectives, explain how the project will be evaluated and submit a budget.

Recipients will report on their results and insights from their program once the projects are completed.

The foundation encourages those not selected to submit applications in the future. Applications will be accepted again starting Jan. 1, 2018, with a deadline of Feb. 15, 2018. For more information, visit http://www.bessieminorswift.org.

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