Every six months, The Community Foundation has the opportunity to make discretionary grants to non-profit organizations making a difference in the foundation’s service area. Funds for distribution are limited. Keeping this in mind, the CFOV Distribution Committee carefully reviews grant applications and chooses projects that will make an impact in a wide variety of service areas.
One spring grant, to the Oglebay Institute Schrader Environmental Center, is reaching at-risk 3- to 5-year-olds and providing an opportunity for them to experience environmental science both in the classroom and outdoors. Project Green Hour began this fall with 16 Head Start programs participating, involving 160 students. The program involved pre-lessons in the classroom, a field trip to the Schrader Center, and post-lessons for teachers to continue. Teachers were trained by Schrader Center staff and provided with lesson plans for their use prior to the Schrader Center visit.
The program includes art, music, social and cognitive skill development, gross and fine motor skill development, natural science exploration, and outdoor discovery. The goal is to develop children’s ability to work independently and cooperatively, and to act in a caring and responsible way toward their environment, themselves, and others.
On Saturday, October 25th, the children and their parents were invited to the Schrader Center for a celebration where each child got to show their parents what they did at the Schrader Center as part of the Project Green Hour gallery. Transportation and food was provided to families.
Teachers received a terrarium and wormery to take back to their classroom to continue the hands-on investigations with live invertebrates. The Schrader Center staff used a curriculum guide recommended by Head Start, “Discovering Nature with Young Children” in developing the lesson plan to improve their level of comfort with the program.
Schrader Center Director Eriks Janelsins said, “We are reaching a whole new demographic of children through Project Green Hour. We have as many parents attend the visits to the center as we do children, which is very encouraging.”
Another interesting project was funded by the CFOV last spring documenting the Last Days of Mount de Chantal. The Wheeling National Heritage Area Corporation was awarded a matching grant to create this documentary. Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy closed its doors on May 31, 2008, after 160 years.
Funding from The Community Foundation covered raw film footage that has been documented and is in the process of being edited for the documentary. Along with exterior and interior architecture, the following activities were filmed during the last days of school at Mount de Chantal:
- Footage during school day
- Awards Ceremony–Academic and Sports
- National Honor Society Induction and Junior Class Ring Ceremony
- Alumnae Weekend Interviews
- May Party Practice
- May Party
- Senior Graduation
- Junior Graduation
- Interviews with Faculty
- Interviews with Student Representatives–Grades 9-12
- Final K-4 Program
- Middle School Awards
When the documentary is complete, it will be of broadcast quality featuring transcripts of oral history interviews and text descriptions of all photos and footage. The long-term goal is to produce a 30-minute documentary for WV PBS utilizing these resources. Additional funding is currently being sought by WNHAC to complete the project.