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Briefly: November 2023

Children Participate in The Boys and Girls Club

UScellular Announces More Than $32K Donation to Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbia

To provide meaningful educational opportunities and experiences to local youth, UScellular announced a $32,300 grant to Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbia. This donation is part of a $1 million grant to Boys & Girls Clubs of America, which will directly benefit 19 additional clubs throughout UScellular’s service areas.

This marks the ninth consecutive year of UScellular’s investment in Boys & Girls Clubs, continuing the company’s support of K-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and academic enrichment programs happening at the clubs. Throughout 2022, UScellular’s support gave 147,000 youth across the country access to STEM activities and learning. Funds from the grant were used for the creation of STEM labs, hands-on interactive programming, and STEM curriculum training for club leaders.

In addition to its support of STEM education at Boys & Girls Clubs across the country, UScellular is helping narrow the “homework gap” through the After School Access Project, which is an initiative that provides free mobile hotspots and service to nonprofits that support youth after the school day has ended.

Boone County ARPA Funds Awarded to Habitat for Humanity’s Boone Prairie Village Project 

An award of more than $700,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds from the Boone County Commission to Habitat for Humanity will help with the completion of the second phase of development of the Boone Prairie Subdivision.

Access to safe and affordable housing was a key need identified in Boone County during the COVID-19 pandemic and was a focus area for the county in allocating ARPA funds. According to a news release, five development phases are planned for Habitat for Humanity’s Boone Prairie Village. Each phase is approximately 30 homes, with a total of 143 homes planned for the subdivision.

ARPA funding will help Habitat for Humanity complete phase two infrastructure. Infrastructure includes sewers, excavation work, engineering, roads, and utilities. Phase two will cost approximately $1.5 million and could be done in 18 months. The news release stated that the additional funding eases pressure on the budget and allows the organization to focus resources on actual home construction.

Thirty new families will be able to affordably own their own homes, raise their children in a safe environment, and affect the generational wealth change that comes with homeownership.

Children’s Grove Receives $10,000 Grant from Missouri Humanities Council for Kindness Library 

Children’s Grove has received a $10,000 grant from the Missouri Humanities Council (MHC) to continue and further develop the Kindness Library program. Children’s Grove, an all-volunteer nonprofit organization that encourages acts of kindness that reflect compassion, respect, and inclusivity, purchases and donates approximately $10,000 worth of books annually to all early elementary and preschools, both public and private, in Boone County, as well as countless public service agencies that work with young children.

The books, collectively called Kindness Libraries, are carefully selected by a panel of retired educators, social workers, and early childhood experts. They are chosen to present goodwill, gentleness, and compassion appropriately. Each school is presented with a tote bag of five storybooks, either from the preschool selection or the early elementary selection. Some schools and agencies receive both libraries, depending on the age range of their students or clients.

With this funding, Children’s Grove will present a new Kindness Library to every early elementary school, daycare, and preschool in Boone County, along with continuing its strong support of local agencies that assist area children.

Voluntary Action Center’s Holiday Program Celebrates 40 Years of Service to Boone County Residents 

Voluntary Action Center (VAC) announces the 40th anniversary of its holiday program. The program aims to provide food, clothing, and toys to families in need during the holiday season. The VAC holiday program has been a staple of the Columbia community since 1983.

VAC is a nonprofit organization responding to the immediate basic needs of individuals and families in Boone County. The organization’s goal is to help people achieve self-sufficiency by providing basic needs assistance and support services. The holiday program is one of the organization’s most popular seasonal programs. Last year, the program served over 1,000 families in Boone County.

This year, VAC foresees an increase in participants due to the unprecedented demand for basic needs services in 2023. VAC is currently seeking family, individual, and business sponsors for the holiday program. Sponsors can sign up online now at www.vacmo.org/programs/holiday or by calling 573-874-2273. Sponsors can choose to sponsor a family or make a monetary donation to the program.

State Historical Society of Missouri Publishes New Historic “Mizzourians” Biographies 

As part of its educational outreach mission, the State Historical Society of Missouri (SHSMO) continues to expand the Historic Missourians website, a freely available resource that features notable people who influenced the Show-Me State. The biographies include images, artifacts, and primary sources that can be studied by students, educators, and the general public.

New biographies are made possible through a donation from Carolyn P. and Robin R. Wenneker, whose financial support allows the SHSMO to expand the “Historic Mizzourians” initiative, highlighting prominent Missourians whose lives have intersected with the University of Missouri in meaningful ways.

The new biographies include Mike Shannon, famed Cardinals baseball player and MLB sports broadcaster, who also played football at Mizzou early in his career; Mary Jane Guthrie, American zoologist and cytologist who graduated from MU and returned to teach at her alma mater; Arvarh Strickland, the first full-time African American professor at Mizzou; and Martha Griffiths, an MU graduate known for ensuring that protections for women were included in the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. To learn more, visit the Historic Missourians website at historicmissourians.shsmo.org.

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