Power of Centennial (POC) meetings usually consist of members sitting around a table, discussing various causes. Most meetings end with a vote to decide which causes should be funded. Things were done a bit differently this time.
Instead of its semiannual meeting Nov. 14 at Our Saviors Lutheran Church in Circle Pines, Co-Chair Amy Minear decided a virtual meeting might be better this time around. “The total grant request amount was at a level that we could fund all of them, making an in-person vote and presentation less relevant,” she explained. “I had each member pay ahead and send their votes; each grant received at least one vote, so they will all be funded.”
POC meets twice a year to determine where it would like its dollars to go within the community. Members meet in November and May and commit to giving $50 at each meeting. All dollars raised are given as grants to support education in the Centennial area.
The group has 44 members. Since POC’s inception, the group has allocated over $17,000. This year, POC received $900 in requests that met the criteria. One grant request was not funded this time but will be funded in 2020 at the Centennial Area Education Foundation
(CAEF) Gala April 4.
CAEF President Jan Kreminski explained that there was one grant request for technology at Centerville Elementary. “This year’s Fund the Need at the Gala will address technology in all five elementary schools. We have set the request aside so we can fund it, hopefully at a higher level,” he said.
Minear said, “I always find it interesting to see what ideas are submitted for grants. Small projects teachers or community members would like to do that need a small amount of funding. I didn’t even know what a book boat was until we received this grant request.”
Golden Lake Elementary (GLE) will be able to purchase “book boats” and accessories for special education students.
“The overall benefit of using book boats is to improve reading. Any enjoyable and fun space to read will help increase the likelihood that kids will want to read,” said GLE psychologist/social worker Sara Fenstermacher. “Book boats can create a safe space for students with anxiety, autism or ADHD when feeling overwhelmed. We often include sensory items, weighted blankets and pillows in the bins so kids can relax and take a break. By allowing students to have their own boat, they can personalize it to make it fit their sensory and learning needs. When they feel safe and are comfortable, students will do more schoolwork and perform better academically.”
Students in pre-K through fifth grade at Centennial Elementary will now be able to check out science kits from the school library. The kits include a science book with experiments, lab log and supplies to perform experiments.
“This is an opportunity for students who might not have access to science materials to perform the experiments they are reading about in school,” said Jessica Maistrovich, a science volunteer at Centennial Elementary.
Student Leadership Council
Centennial Elementary’s Student Leadership Council (student council) is composed of 14 carefully selected students in grades 4-5.
“These students display leadership among our student body in many ways ... By being ambassadors for new students at our school, creating anti-bullying and acceptance artwork to hang around the school, planning and participating in quarterly getting-to-know-you activities, leading the “Kindness in Chalk” art activity on the sidewalks, volunteering their recess time to help keep our library tidy and planning the annual springtime staff appreciation breakfast,” Principal Kathy Kaiser explained.
The grant funds will purchase T-shirts for the Student Leadership Council members and three advisors as well as chalk for Kindness in Chalk Day, supplies for anti-bullying posters and food for the annual staff appreciation breakfast.
POC is not only looking for members to step into leadership roles but would like more participation from the male population; currently, the group only has a few men. For more information, visit caefoundation.org/poc.
Editor Shannon Granholm can be reached at 651-407-1227 or firstname.lastname@example.org