June 03, 2012

Project Development: An Eye Opening Placement

By Zara Fritts, Project Development Committee Member

Zara Fritts
This year I was lucky enough to be placed on the Project Development Committee. Initially I wasn't entirely sure what this committee did but had the vague knowledge that it gave out money. As it turns out, they give "grant" organizations a lot of money; $42,500 to be exact.

This year 34 organizations, whose mission aligns with the JLPA-MP criteria, applied for a grant. These organizations are all primarily committed to improving their community by offering services to women, children, teens and families as a whole.

I found it incredibly eye-opening to discover how many organizations are out there that need funding for things as simple as a field trip to the ocean, a place that many teens in our area have never seen despite its proximity. Some of the grant money we awarded went to "seed" a school library, provide materials for kindergarten readiness, and start a garden which will simultaneously teach kids how to eat nutritiously. These are important educational tools that when implemented early enough can make the difference between a good life and a life dealing with obesity, poverty or even prison.

The more of these organizations that I learned about, the more I wanted to volunteer. It is a great feeling to know more and subsequently do more.

This really was a rewarding experience but now it's time to hit the pavement running. Even a couple of hours a week can make a tremendous difference to your local charity, especially when so many are struggling during these tough economic times.

For more information on the 2012 Grant recipients, visit our website.

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