BRISTOL – The Bristol Rotary Club awarded nearly $12,000 to area organizations with programs benefitting local youth Monday morning.
The checks were presented at a breakfast meeting at Oasis Restaurant. Dave McAllister, president of the Bristol Rotary Club, said the club has given out mini-grants every year since 1987.
“The funds were generated from our golf tournament, which is usually held in the third week of August and is sponsored by the Barnes Group, ESPN, Thomaston Savings Bank, Webster Bank and other community organizations,” he said. “We have given out about $12,000 for the past several years, but over the past 32 years we have awarded more than a half-million. They are always given to community organizations with a focus on child development.”
McAllister said that of the more than a dozen mini-grants awarded, there is a “hands-on” learning component in four of them.
“At the American Clock and Watch Museum they’ve put together a program where kids are able to touch the old clocks and watches and learn about cogs, gears and springs,” he said. “At Imagine Nation there are two programs they are doing this summer – one called ‘Meet the Chefs,’ which teaches kids about cooking and meal preparation, and another, ‘Growing Up Wild,’ which is a collaboration with the Pequabuck Watershed Association where kids are learning about environmental sustainability.”
Another program McAllister mentioned is being held at First Congregational Church. There, third- and fourth-graders are learning how to grow and prepare food. This food will then be given to other nonprofit organizations – Brian’s Angels and Agape House.
McAllister noted that another mini-grant recipient, Sarah Larson with Bristol Parks & Recreation, was given a grant to purchase books for a summer reading program.
“The interesting thing is that Sarah was the recipient of one of our Interact Club scholarships when she was in high school,” he said. “Now, she’s working for the Parks and Rec department. It’s like the circle of life.”
A grant also went toward purchasing bicycles for Bristol Preschool as playground equipment.
“They will give kids an opportunity to have activities and exercise and that will help to instill good values,” he said.
Another beneficiary was Bristol Public Library’s Children’s Department. The grant will fund their Yoga After Lunch program.
“This is a great program that provides young parents and kids the opportunity to do yoga together,” said McAllister. “From what I understand it has been very well received.”
Additional grants were given to Forestville Little League for scholarships, the New England Carousel Museum to purchase tables and stools for their learning lab, and Shepard Meadows Therapeutic Riding Center Inc., where money will be used to partially fund a week-long half-day summer camp.
McAllister’s presidency at the Bristol Rotary Club ends June 30, after which he will be succeeded by Mary Etter, executive director at BARC (The Bristol Adult Resource Center). However, McAllister said that he plans to visit each of these grant recipient programs over the summer and then report back to Bristol Rotary Club about how the grants are making a positive difference in the community.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.