Community foundation awards grants to trio of elementary programs

Students in the Juneau Alaska Music Matters program perform at Glacier Valley Elementary School. (Photo courtesy of the Juneau Community Foundation)

Students in the Juneau Alaska Music Matters program perform at Glacier Valley Elementary School. (Photo courtesy of the Juneau Community Foundation)

The Juneau Community Foundation granted more than $30,000 worth of grant money to three elementary school projects. The money comes from the foundation’s newly formed Youth Fund and its Education Fund.

The largest grant, $21,200, goes to Juneau Alaska Music Matters (JAMM). That money will allow the tuition-free music program to expand the program in three Juneau elementary schools. The money will help JAMM continue to offer after-school programs that promote focus, self-control, leadership skills, teamwork and other youth development skills.

According to a release, JAMM leaders are hoping the program expands to more elementary schools and eventually works with middle schools as JAMM participants head to middle school. JAMM Director Lorrie Heagy said she’s proud to be partnered with JCF.

“From funding our pilot program at Glacier Valley many years ago to supporting our current expansion efforts, JCF is critical to JAMM’s success,” Heagy said in a release. “Thank you for reaffirming that music makes a difference in the lives of our children.”

The second JCF grant is $2,100 to match a grant from the Friends of the Library that allows all 92 K-5 classrooms to have a field trip to a traveling museum exhibit. Juneau Public Libraries is one of only eight library systems in the country to host the exhibit, called Discover Tech: Engineers Make a World of Difference.

The exhibit expresses the ways engineering solves problems and how engineers create new technologies. The exhibit, which is about 800 square feet, is very hands-on. The grant money also allows for each class to conduct a grade-appropriate science experiment.

The Trauma Informed Schools Pilot Program is also on the receiving end of a grant, totaling $8,420. The money will support three elementary schools in Juneau with training and tools to better aid students dealing with trauma.

JCF has teamed up with the state of Alaska, the Juneau School District and Washington State University to bring the program to Juneau’s schools, according to the release. Michelle Byer, the principal of Riverbend Elementary School, said teachers are learning quickly thanks to the program.

“We have learned how to work more successfully with students who have significant adverse childhood experiences,” Byer said in the release. “This program provides meaningful support to our students and staff. If we can help them cope, we can give them hope.”

The two funds responsible for these grants, the Youth Fund and the Education Fund, are two of five “field of interest funds” that the foundation maintains. The funds — which also include Parks & Trails, Arts & Culture and Health & Social Services — are developed to support the foundation’s nonprofit partners.

The grants are provided through donations from around the community, and the foundation is working with individual donors to set up endowments for the near future and the long term.


• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or alex.mccarthy@juneauempire.com.


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