Bessie Minor Swift literacy grants awarded |

Bessie Minor Swift literacy grants awarded

Staff Report

Several organizations in our area have been awarded grants from the Bessie Minor Swift Foundation, which was formed by the owners and founder of Swift Communications, operator of the Glenwood Springs Post Independent and, along with the Vail Daily and The Aspen Times in this region.

The foundation awards grants to organizations that provide direct service to help with the implementation or expansion of literacy programs for children who are below grade level or experiencing difficulty reading, and also to develop reading and writing skills at all age levels.

The grants support programs in the arts, languages and sciences for preschool, primary and secondary school-aged children. Grants worth more than $300,000 have been awarded since 2008. The grants:

• Glenwood Springs Arts Council, $2,600: Funds will purchase supplies and instructor time for the Painting Pages program. Painting Pages is an art and literacy outreach collaboration between the arts council and the local public library. Elementary schoolchildren experience live storytelling and then write about the story and create a piece of art interpreting the story. Their writing samples and artwork go home with them, along with an improved understanding of the creative process.

• Carbondale Middle School, $2,400: Money will purchase young adult literature that is current, appropriately themed for grade levels five through eight and of high interest. All students meet daily in small teacher-led groups designed to create strong relationships and improve student literacy. The novels will be used as content for the programming.

• Family Visitor Programs of Garfield County, Glenwood Springs, $2,000: Through the “Read to Me” program, 50 families will receive education and a book during monthly scheduled home visits. Parents will learn why they should read to their babies as well as how to read to them. Parents will also be assessed for their language skills and be referred to adult literacy programs if appropriate.

• Roaring Fork High School, Carbondale, $300: Twenty copies of Ta-Nehisi Coate’s book “Between the World and Me” will be used in a collaborative unit between U.S. history and English classes on civil rights in American history. The objectives of this project are to challenge ninth-grade students to read a thought-provoking, challenging text while connecting the struggle for civil rights with modern issues surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement.

• Roaring Fork Conservancy, Basalt, $3,000: The money will support field trips for 400 middle school students in the Roaring Fork Valley (including Glenwood Springs, Carbondale, Basalt and Aspen) who will participate in the Snow Science Field Trip. During fieldwork students will learn two methods of calculating the water content of snow, helping them to make the connection between winter snowpack and summer water supply.

• Pitkin County Library, Aspen, $3,000: The library will purchase an electric book bike to distribute books to people who may not be library patrons. The bike will also allow for demonstration of the library’s online resources via a Wi-Fi hotspot. The book bike will travel to festivals and public gathering places.

• Aspen Community School, Woody Creek, $2,750: The school garden at Aspen Community School provides students in kindergarten through the eighth grade with opportunities to reinforce reading, writing, art, music, math, science and social skills. Funds will purchase nonfiction and fiction leveled books, blank journals, magnifying lenses, worm boxes, seeds and art supplies to be used in the garden.

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