Twelve Schools Will Receive Funding to Support Student and Building Safety
WATERTOWN — The Safe Schools Endeavor, in partnership with the Northern New York Community Foundation, will award nearly $25,000 in grant support to 12 Jefferson and Lewis County schools for the 2022-2023 school year.
The Safe Schools Endeavor Steering Committee evaluated more than a dozen grant applications for programs that empower students, parents, and faculty to create the safest schools possible in Jefferson and Lewis counties. This is the fourth year the fund has made grant awards. Since its inception, the Safe Schools Endeavor has awarded nearly $87,000 for three-dozen school projects in Jefferson and Lewis counties.
“Each of these very worthy projects are only possible because of the businesses, groups, and individuals who continue to give generously to the Safe Schools Endeavor. Many of our donors have given annually since our inception in 2018, which demonstrates their belief in our mission and commitment to the safety of our youth,” said Erika Flint, steering committee chairwoman. “Seeing projects that expand across a variety of safety measures, with youth input and leadership, at all grade levels is particularly satisfying and truly embodies the mission of the Safe Schools Endeavor.”
Copenhagen Central School District Superintendent Scott N. Connell expressed his gratitude for grant awards that will help strengthen building safety and student culture.
“School safety remains of utmost concern, which to us embodies multiple forms of well-being; physical, emotional, social, developmental, and economic,” Mr. Connell said. “With the grant award, our district plans to implement vape detectors in our middle and high school wings, along with reinforcing anti-bullying at the elementary level. These efforts will support all students district-wide and strengthen the values our school and community continue to instill in our youth.”
The Community Foundation Board of Directors unanimously approved the following Safe Schools Endeavor grants:
- Adirondack Central School District, $2,500 to develop a therapy dog program for each of its four buildings. Support will help to purchase a dog and pay for its training.
- Beaver River Central School District, $2,500 to purchase radios for emergency communications for a School Resource Officer the district recently hired.
- Copenhagen High School, $2,500 to help eliminate students using vaping devices in bathrooms. Grant funding will support the purchase of a vape sensors.
- Alexandria Central School District, $2,237 to help purchase three license plate readers that can identify vehicles trespassing on school grounds.
- Lowville Academy and Central School, $2,092 to help discourage vaping and send a clear message that it is not allowed on school property. Grant funding will be paired with support from the Student Council to purchase vape detectors.
- South Jefferson Middle School, $2,060 to help outfit six middle school bathrooms with vaping sensors. Members of several school clubs are collaborating to provide education, support and deterrents for adolescents who vape.
- South Jefferson High School, $2,060, to help outfit six high school bathrooms with vaping sensors. Members from the school’s Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) club have identified vaping as a priority concern for the high school student body.
- Indian River Middle and High schools, $2,000 to help the school’s SADD club bring international speaker Nathan Harmon to present his talk, “Your Life Speaks” to middle and high school students. Mr. Harmon’s talk engages young people in important conversations about addiction, suicide, reckless behavior, and the impact on mental health caused by the pandemic.
- Augustinian Academy, Carthage, $1,928 to help improve building security at entrances and exits, as well as lockdown window shades and radios. The school has been working to update its emergency preparedness plan.
- Copenhagen Central School District, $1,750 to help bring speaker Jared Campbell to present “How to be a Superhero Every Day at School.” Mr. Campbell’s anti-bullying presentation helps to reinforce positive personal traits to create a safe school environment for all students in pre-k through second grade. The program complements the school’s monthly Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) assemblies.
- General Brown Junior/Senior High School, $1,500 to help create a place to care for students’ social and emotional well-being and learn how to self-regulate during the school day. Grant funding will support the purchase of furniture and sensory items that promote mindfulness.
- Indian River CSD Theresa Primary School, $1,500 to help staff create a safe, calming space to improve culture and promote a positive social/emotional wellbeing. Grant support will provide resources to purchase items to create a “calming corner” with comfortable furniture, accessories, and activities.
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 in 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.”
An 18-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, Inc.; Andrianna Crawford, counselor, Indian River Central; Brigitte Gillette, counselor, Copenhagen Central; Jennifer Hodge, development director/corporate compliance officer, Volunteer Transportation Center; 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; Michelle Monnat, chief financial officer, CHJC (Children’s Home of Jefferson County); 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. Student representatives: Anmolika Bolla, Watertown High School Class of 2022; Hailyn Buker, South Jefferson Class of 2022; Claire Jones, junior, Copenhagen Central; Philip Marra, Watertown High School Class of 2021; Samantha Stokely, junior, Copenhagen Central; and Peyton Taylor, junior, 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.