Good Works Education Foundation awards health and wellness mini-grants

The Citrus County Education Foundation (CCEF) partnered with Seven Rivers Regional Medical Center Thursday night to host its first Health and Wellness Mini-Grant Celebration at Lecanto High School.

Twenty-five teachers received mini-grants to achieve a classroom, school-wide or community health and wellness initiative.

Programs like “Coping Skills for Success” initiative at Floral City Elementary provides children struggling from negative external factors such as parent incarceration, grief, poverty and family substance abuse. The program teaches students various coping skills through stress management techniques and evidence-based curriculum. The school received a $500 grant.

These mini-grants also help continue long-run school initiatives like Forest’s Ridge’s free after-school running club.

“Our runner’s club “The Fitness Owls” has been at the school for the past 10 years,” said FRE’s club co-organizer Marsha Mullins. “We want to further the program by giving every participating student a personalized certificate at events while adding a pedometer to count student’s steps and an electronic stepper.”

Individual teachers applied for $500, and teams of teachers applied for $1,000. If the pilots prove successful, the programs will expand to other classrooms.

“I’m excited about this new program, we have been trying for many years to extend the mini-grants for Health and Wellness,” said Shaunda Burdette, executive director of CCEF.

“We would not have been able to do this without the help from Seven Rivers Regional Medical Center.”

This program comes after CCEF was the recipient of funds raised during the Nov. 5 Seven Rivers Regional King’s Bay 5K.

Seven Rivers Public Relations and Communication Coordinator, Alex Hampton feels there wasn’t a better nonprofit to receive funds this year.

“Part of the reason I was so excited about partnering with the Education Foundation is that of the diversity and the creativity these grants offer,” Hampton said.

“I’m someone who is passionate about diversity, creativity, and inclusive in our education environment and these grants were embodying that — and the importance of partnering with nonprofits is to see where the money is going and be involved.”

To help as many teachers succeed in chosen health and wellness initiatives, Seven Rivers donated $6,000 with CCEF matching the funds through community fundraising totaling in $12,082 to go right back into Citrus County classrooms.

Contact Chronicle reporter Julie Gorham at 352-563-3236 or jgorham@chronicleonline.com.

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