Thirteen Projects Receive Funding to Strengthen Student Culture, Building Security
WATERTOWN — The Safe Schools Endeavor, in partnership with the Northern New York Community Foundation, will award nearly $24,000 in grant support to fund 13 projects in 12 Jefferson and Lewis County schools for the 2023-2024 school year.
The Safe Schools Endeavor Steering Committee reviewed more than a dozen applications for funding to support programs that empower students, parents, and faculty to create the safest schools possible in Jefferson and Lewis counties. This is the fifth year the fund has awarded grant support. Since its inception, the Safe Schools Endeavor has awarded $103,326 for 56 school projects in Jefferson and Lewis counties.
“While we wish our efforts were no longer needed, we feel our students, teachers, and administrators deserve our support now as much as ever, and we are grateful to all businesses, groups, and individuals who continue to give generously to the Safe Schools Endeavor,” said Erika Flint, steering committee chairwoman. “Many of our donors have given annually since our efforts began in 2018, which is a testament to their belief in our commitment to the safety of our youth. With the highest level of funding requested this year, we are encouraged by the vision, scope, and variety of projects that truly embody the mission of the Safe Schools Endeavor.”
Lowville Academy and Central School District Superintendent Rebecca Dunckel-King expressed her “heartfelt gratitude” for a pair of grant awards that will help strengthen building safety and student culture in the district’s elementary and high schools.
“Thanks to the Safe Schools Endeavor, Lowville Academy and Central School District has been able to implement programs that helped to create and sustain a safer school for our students,” Mrs. Dunckel-King said. “In a time when school safety and student social and emotional health are such a critical component of youth development, it is a warm relief to know that our local and neighboring schools are supported by such an amazing program.”
Mrs. Dunckel-King added that she and her team are “truly appreciative of the Safe Schools Endeavor and its commitment to our community’s well-being.”
The Community Foundation Board of Directors unanimously approved the following Safe Schools Endeavor grants:
- South Lewis Central School, $2,500 to install 23MIL Armoured One Shooter Attack/Bomb Film on the main entrance/vestibule windows of campus. The product slows an intruder’s entrance by holding the glass together, as opposed to instantly shattering.
- Sackets Harbor Central School, $2,500 to bolster school safety by creating a protective barrier against forced entry, vandalism, and theft while ensuring the well-being of students, staff, and property. Grant funding will be used to retrofit several school windows with security glazing.
- Indian River Central School District, $2,500 to create a therapy dog program at the high school to support the social and emotional needs of students.
- Lowville Academy and Central School High School, $2,380 to secure new emergency radios for use by a new school safety officer and administrators in all buildings.
- General Brown Central School District, $2,250 to improve communications across all their properties with radios carried by administrators, directors, and custodians. Grant funding will help to purchase up to six units for use by nurses and essential staff.
- Belleville Henderson Central School District, $2,000 to support the “Sweethearts and Heroes” anti-
bullying program, which aims promote a positive and inclusive school environment by raising awareness about the consequences of bullying while teaching students and staff how to stand up against it.
- Copenhagen Central School District, $1,960 to purchase 70 door stops and 50 “Stop the Bleed” kits. A recent active shooter instructional day revealed the effectiveness of door stops and “Stop the Bleed” kits, which contain helpful lifesaving items to promptly respond to injuries.
- Lyme Central School, $1,500 to provide appropriate school crossing guard coverage, training, and outfitting for a volunteer group to ensure students have assistance with crossing NYS Route 12E before walking a block to school.
- Carthage Central School District, $1,500 to purchase materials for teachers at Carthage Elementary who want to create or improve a classroom calming corner with items such as flexible seating, break box materials, and new items for a therapy toolbox to support students.
- Jefferson-Lewis-Hamilton-Herkimer-Oneida BOCES, $1,400 to install two cell phone signal boosters to increase service on campus to LTE/5G service for urgent calls.
- LaFargeville Central School District, $1,250 to install surveillance cameras in areas not presently covered. Grant funding will help to secure a camera to monitor a parking lot and playground, which will help deter unwelcome visitors.
- Beaver River Central School District, $1,000 to purchase an automated external defibrillator for use in the district’s swimming pool area. This grant request was initiated by a student with support from the school safety officer.
- Lowville Academy and Central School Elementary School, $975 to create calming corners for each classroom with materials to give students the tools needed to self-regulate their emotions such as sensory tools, mindfulness prompts, and a five-minute sand timer.
Grants are made possible thanks to the generous gifts of many individuals and businesses in Jefferson and Lewis counties who support the Safe Schools Endeavor and its mission to help keep all children safe while they are at school.
The Safe Schools Endeavor stresses awareness, empowerment, and action within school communities. All grant proposals are evaluated based upon the degree to which they embody these desired outcomes. To stay informed about the Safe Schools Endeavor and its progress in Jefferson and Lewis county schools, like it on Facebook at Facebook.com/SafeSchoolsEndeavor and follow it on Instagram at Instagram.com/safeschoolsendeavor.
About the Safe Schools Endeavor
In the days that followed the Feb. 14, 2018, shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., that left 14 students and three staff members dead, and 17 others wounded, a group of North Country residents were called to act in their own communities in Jefferson and Lewis counties.
While school safety leads many discussions across the country, the Safe Schools Endeavor was created to encourage change at a very local level. Its founding members believe our children are our most precious resource and should never worry for their safety at school.
With generous support from the Northern New York Community Foundation, a $20,000 matching grant for all gifts made in support of the initiative was announced and a focused effort to seek donations soon began. The movement struck a chord with many Northern New Yorkers who quickly gave to the effort, confirming a guiding philosophy that together “A Few Can Make a Difference.”
A 19-member Steering Committee manages the Safe Schools Endeavor. Committee members are parents, school officials, nonprofit executives, retirees, and student representatives.
They include: Erika Flint, executive director, Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization, and Safe Schools Endeavor Steering Committee chairwoman; Jessica Bowline, president, Indigo Inkwell; Sarah Colligan, chief human resources officer, Community Action Planning Council of Jefferson County; Andrianna Crawford, counselor, Lowville Academy and Central School; Brittney Fults, teacher, Carthage Central; Brigitte Gillette, counselor, Copenhagen Central; Marjorie LaVere, administrative assistant, Jefferson County Public Defender’s Office; Todd Lighthall, executive director, Camp Oswegatchie, and Beaver River Central School Board of Education member; Morgan Pratt Neaves, assistant principal, Indian River Central; Rebecca Paté-Johnson, Head Start family advocate, Community Action Planning Council of Jefferson County; Kylie Simpson, probation officer, Lewis County Probation Department; Stephen Todd, superintendent, Jeff-Lewis BOCES; and Skyler Tuttle, school safety officer, Lowville Academy and Central School. Student representatives: Anmolika Bolla, Watertown High School Class of 2022; Hailyn Buker, South Jefferson Class of 2022; Claire Jones, senior, Copenhagen Central; Philip Marra, Watertown High School Class of 2021; Samantha Stokely, senior, Copenhagen Central; and Peyton Taylor, senior, Copenhagen Central.
About the Northern New York Community Foundation
Since 1929, the Northern New York Community Foundation has invested in improving and enriching the quality of life for all in communities across Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties.
Through partnerships with businesses and organizations, charitable foundations, and generous families and individual donors, the Community Foundation awards grants and scholarships from an endowment and collection of funds that benefit the region. Its commitment to donors helps individuals achieve their charitable objectives now and for generations to come by preserving and honoring legacies of community philanthropy while inspiring others.
The Community Foundation is a resource for local charitable organizations, donors, professional advisors and nonprofit organizations. It also works to bring people together at its permanent home in the Northern New York Philanthropy Center to discuss challenges our communities face and find creative solutions that strengthen the region and make it a great place to live, work, and play.