Empower Ellsworth grants inspire community service

Posted 4/5/22

ELLSWORTH – The Ellsworth E3 Community Development Corporation recently took grant applications for student service projects and on Tuesday, March 29, awarded a total of $5,000 to various Ellsworth …

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Empower Ellsworth grants inspire community service


ELLSWORTH – The Ellsworth E3 Community Development Corporation recently took grant applications for student service projects and on Tuesday, March 29, awarded a total of $5,000 to various Ellsworth Community School District student groups to support projects they want to coordinate in the community.

In the grant application, the grant is outlined as an opportunity for students to make a difference in the community. It states, “The Ellsworth E3 CDC and the Ellsworth School District will be hosting a grant competition to generate ideas and powerful, student-led projects to strengthen the greater Ellsworth community. This grant will be awarded to K-12 students and student groups who wish to do a local service learning

See GRANTS, Page 12

Ellsworth E3 Community Development Corporation awarded grants to student service projects on Tuesday, March 29. One recipient is a group of students who plan to host a fundraising dinner for Ukraine. Photo courtesy of Anne Pechacek GRANTS

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project in the 2022-23 school year.”

After receiving several applications, E3 divided and awarded the grant money to seven different student groups with ideas on how to bring the Ellsworth community together. When applying students were able to request amounts between $100-$1,000 for their service projects.

The projects must be completed along with a short summary of their projects by May 14, 2023. The grant application will open again next year for similar projects to be done by students in the Ellsworth area.

Ellsworth High School social studies teacher and volunteer for Ellsworth E3 CDC Anne Pechacek said, “We had $5,000 to work with and that is about what we received in grant applications.”

The first student group awarded was tennis players Betsy Foster, Lander Levers and Josie Pechacek. They feel there is a need for a summer camp for middle schoolers to engage more students in the sport. Currently, a small number of boys play tennis, so the students hope to gain more popularity with their summer camp. E3 awarded the group $500 for supplies and other necessities to coordinate the summer camp.

The second grant went to three EHS sophomores, Stephanie Jennings, Abigail Michels and Gabby McChane, who want to host more events to bring the community together. They received $500 for their upcoming Movie Nights in the Park at the middle school football field.

“They really wanted to have more community feel-good events, so they are looking to host a couple of movie nights for the community, maybe outdoors like a picnic drive-through type of event,” Pechacek said.

During the event, they will ask for free will donations and all the money raised will go to Feed My Starving Children.

The third grant is for a project to provide support to Ukraine. This project is very personal to some of the involved students, Pechacek said. The project is called Ukraine Food for Effect and they hope to make their donations to the Red Cross.

“We have a couple close connections at the high school to Ukraine,” Pechacek said. “We currently have a foreign exchange student with us from Ukraine and he is part of this service project; it is a pretty large group of students getting this all together.”

They are planning to host a Ukrainian dinner fundraiser where they’ll serve authentic Ukrainian foods. The proceeds will be sent to Ukraine through the Red Cross or to the exchange student’s school, which has been damaged. The group, which includes Audrey Farrell, RaeAnna Smith, Payton Rohl, Joy Turvaville, Lexie Shelley, Maggie Berns, Tyler Boley, Anthony Madsen, Denys and Ryan Casper, received $1,000 for their project.

A fourth project, proposed by an EHS freshman Sam Hines, who is a 4-H and FFA member, received $750. He plans to use the money toward a bigger project to improve the drainage and facilities where livestock exhibitors wash and tend their animals at the Pierce County Fairgrounds. The total project will cost about $6,000 and be undertaken by various groups.

EHS basketball player Morgan Halverson received $500 to be used to coordinate a basketball camp. She has played basketball and helped coach younger players and hopes that more students will join the sport after attending the camp.

“There are only about three fifth grade girls currently playing basketball and she would like to see that change with this camp she will be hosting,” Pechacek said.

E3 awarded EHS senior Dawson Peters $500 to help coordinate and design an interactive mural and mural walk located in the East End. The grant will allow for a group to put together the mural over the summer.

The final project to receive grant money was an elementary group of students who will put the money toward a skate rental program at the warming house. After purchasing the skates, they will be available for students to check out and return after using them. They were rewarded $1,000 for this project.

“Fifth grade teacher Lisa Bench helped the students coordinate the project and get it all put together and they are all very excited to get started,” said Pechacek.

The students all presented their projects and ideas at an event hosted by Ellsworth E3 CDC on March 29. They all spoke in front of a judging panel and proudly advocated for their projects.

One student wrote a heartfelt letter to the committee on behalf of the ice skate rental program.

Kids should have access to skates even if they don’t have their own, the student wrote.

“It helped me bond with the people that helped me (learn to skate),” the student wrote. “We laughed and it was really, really a joyful thing to experience.”

To learn more about the work of E3 in the community or how to get involved, go to www.ellsworthe3cdc.org