IP gives $55K in grants, awards

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

The International Paper Company and Foundation presented $55,000 in grant awards during a luncheon ceremony held Monday at the &8220;Our House&8221; restaurant on Dallas Avenue.

Local schools and non-profit organizations including the Selma City Tennis Program, Leadership Selma-Dallas County, and several area volunteer fire departments received awards. Schools that received grants included Bruce K. Craig, Sophia P. Kingston, Knox, Meadowview, Salem, Southside Primary, and Shiloh Elementary Schools and Dallas County High School.

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Craig Elementary, which received the largest grant for an individual school, will be using the funds they received to create an outdoor classroom that will correlate with lessons for the Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative, known as AMSTI, educator Tanya Miles said.

The grant will fund a butterfly garden and a landscaping project, where students will work alongside a licensed contractor on the school grounds. A second grant will cover books and DVDs that are focused on earth science and will tie in with the school&8217;s accelerated reader program.

Miles said work would begin on the outdoor classroom immediately following the Christmas break, to have the project ready by the spring.

Chinita Irby, third-grade teacher at Shiloh Elementary, received a grant for $2,674 for books and reading materials that include a computerized Reading Mentor, which helps children understand how sounds come together to form words, and a Whisper Phone, which has an earpiece so children can hear themselves as they read. Irby said the Whisper Phone could especially help children who have speaking impairments.

The West Alabama Rehabilitation Center also received a grant to go toward an outdoor classroom.

Pam Frasier, communications manager for the IP Riverdale mill, said the foundation received 73 requests for funding that totaled over $291,000.

This year&8217;s grants were awarded based on two categories: education and employee involvement. Local educators can apply for grants, which can used to cover additional materials to enhance the learning experience for students.

International Paper employees who had been involved for a minimum of six months with a local organization were eligible to apply for a grant for items their organization may need.

In addition, there is also a third category, defined as community need, which individuals can apply for grants under for events such as natural disasters, Frasier said.