Naugatuck Education Foundation to award grants

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Naugatuck High School nurse Gail Rossi looks over raffle items during the Naugatuck Education Foundation’s ‘Alums and Chums’ fundraiser Nov. 25 at Jesse Camille’s Restaurant. Money raised from the fundraiser will be used to award five $500 grants to fund public school programs in Naugatuck. –RA ARCHIVE.

NAUGATUCK — Three years ago, members of the Naugatuck Education Foundation began working towards the day when they could award grants to fund projects within the borough’s public schools. That day will come this spring.

“It’s so exciting to finally get to this point,” said Joan Doback, chairperson of the foundation.

The foundation recently received its official nonprofit status, which is retroactive to March of 2011. Currently, the foundation is accepting applications from teachers, principals, and certified staff for grants to fund specific projects that go above and beyond what is currently funded by the Board of Education. The deadline for applications is March 16 and the foundation plans to award five $500 grants in April, Doback said.

“This is what many, many people worked on for the last few years,” she said.

Doback said the foundation is looking to fund projects that will encompass many students, reach across grades and schools, and projects that can sustain themselves. She cited a project currently underway in the Southington school system as an example of what she’d like to see play out in borough schools.

Doback said the Southington Education Foundation funded a middle school program in which students started a dog treat business. The students made dog treats in culinary class and sold them for $1 each.

The project, Doback said, teaches Southington students skills in business, finance, and economics. The project made a profit to sustain itself, she said, and now DECA students from Southington High School are coming to the middle school to help and mentor the younger students.

“That’s the kind of thing we want to see in our schools,” Doback said.

With it becoming more evident that there will continue to be less state, local, and federal funding for education, Doback said, it’s crucial to find other ways to fund school programs.

“It’s more important than ever to get money to fund programs in the schools,” she said.

The money for the grants that will be awarded in April was raised during an “Alums and Chums” fundraiser the day after Thanksgiving — the foundation’s first fundraiser. The foundation’s second fundraiser will be March 10.

The 2nd Annual St. Patrick’s Day 5K Running Race & Fun Walk will begin at 9 a.m. starting at the Old Corner Café, 178 North Main St.

Doback said the Naugatuck Parent School Council puts on the road race and decided this year to donate the proceeds to the foundation.

Entry fees for the race are $20 before March 10 and $25 on race day. The fee for all Naugatuck students and walkers is $10. The fee for the Kid’s Fun Run, which is for children 12 years old and under, is $5.

Any business interested being a sponsor can e-mail doback.nef@gmail.com. Businesses interested in donating for the raffle can e-mail allison.nef@gmail.com. For more information or to register, visit www.register.fasttracktiming.com.