Nine Schools Will Receive Funding to Support Student and Building Safety Initiatives
WATERTOWN — The Safe Schools Endeavor, in partnership with the Northern New York Community Foundation, will award nearly $16,000 in grant support to nine Jefferson County schools for the 2021-2022 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 third year the fund has made grant awards. Since its inception, the Safe Schools Endeavor has awarded nearly $62,000 to 35 schools 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, knowing failure can only come from inaction,” said Erika Flint, steering committee chairwoman. “Seeing projects that expand across a variety of safety measures at all grade levels is particularly satisfying and truly helps carry the mission of the Safe Schools Endeavor forward.”
Steering Committee student representative Anmolika Bolla, Watertown High School, agreed.
“Seeing students and school officials develop creative ways to keep our community safe while building a campus culture of respect is more than encouraging,” said Steering Committee student representative Anmolika Bolla, Watertown High School. “I look forward to seeing results of these important projects.”
The Community Foundation Board of Directors unanimously approved the following Safe Schools Endeavor grants:
- Carthage Central School District, $2,500, to fund “Superhero Anti-bullying,” a student assembly in each of the district’s elementary schools. The program focuses on overcoming obstacles, anti-bullying,
respect, leadership and maintaining a positive outlook on life.
- Sackets Harbor Central School District, $2,500, to create and sustain the Sackets Support Center, a safe space for students to connect with peers and trusted adults while increasing academic, social, and emotional support. Grant funding supports purchase of materials that provide students with healthy and safe ways to relieve stress.
- LaFargeville Central School District, $2,250, to upgrade and improve the school’s campus-wide emergency communication system. Grant funding will support purchase of additional radios and a signal booster device to improve reliability.
- Alexandria Central School District, $2,000, to purchase the Project VisitU Visitor Management System to improve school security, perform health screenings, ensure accurate visitor records, and increase front desk efficiency.
- Indian River Central School District, $2,000, to fund two sessions of “Clear the Fog,” a student assembly that seeks to educate youth about the dangers of vaping and how the vaping industry manipulates young people to consume their products.
- Watertown City School District (Case Middle School), $1,950, to purchase Halo Smart Sensor detectors for student bathrooms. The devices detect both vape and cigarette smoke and provide additional security features allowing students to call for help, ensure proper air filtration, and can identify gunshots.
- General Brown Central School District, $1,250, to develop a “mindfulness space” in the elementary buildings to provide students with an area they feel safe and confident to continue learning each day. The space will include comfortable seating and relaxed lighting to help students learn strategies to help them when they are feeling overwhelmed or anxious.
- Indian River Central School District, $900, to purchase safety equipment needed for the school’s express student pick-up and drop-off. Items include safety cones to guide traffic and reflective sashes for staff.
- Watertown City School District (Sherman Elementary), $500, to help install vibrant decals that offer positive and inspirational messages throughout the building to discourage disruptive behavior. Messages would read: “One kind word can change someone’s day;” “Be the best version of you;” “Believe in yourself and you will be unstoppable;” and “Your attitude determines your direction.” Teams of fourth-grade students work with maintenance staff and teachers to apply them.
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/safe schoolsendeavor.
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, 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 member, Beaver River Central School Board of Education; 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, senior, Watertown High; Hailyn Buker, senior, South Jefferson; Claire Jones, senior, Copenhagen Central; Madilyn Johnson, freshman, Beaver River; Philip Marra, freshman, SUNY Fredonia (Watertown High School Class of 2021); Samantha Stokely, sophomore, Copenhagen Central; and Peyton Taylor, sophomore, 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.