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Asking for help for daily bites, bullying intervention and the Black Violin
Thursday, March 19, 2015


                Ryan Redman looked out over the more than 50 women sitting in front of him, making sure his eye caught each of theirs as he began his story.

It was a story of a teacher that told him she spends 60 percent of her time counseling students suffering from depression, anxiety and cutting and only 40 percent teaching them.

“And this teacher is dealing with students in the gifted and talented program!” he added.

So began Redman’s pitch, asking the Wood River Women’s Foundation for $25,000—money which he said his Flourish Foundation would use “to change the world from the inside out” by teaching Wood River Valley students contemplative practices for mindfulness and compassion.

The No. 1 cause of disability in the United States is depression. And it’s the No. 2 cause of disability worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, he added.

“One person every 40 seconds commits suicide—that means 12 people will have committed suicide during my eight-minute presentation, he added. “Can we afford not to invest in clear mindedness…the ability to make good choices?”

The Wood River Women’s Foundation’s 200-plus members invited representatives from 12 non-profits to Light on the Mountains Spiritual Center on Wednesday to make presentations for projects they hoped that the philanthropic foundation would fund.

Those 12 were chosen from many who applied this year. Six others who requested less than $10,000 each are preparing written case statements in lieu of oral presentations.

“It’s a tremendous output by everyone to make this happen,” Charlotte Unger told those present and those who were viewing the proceedings by live streaming.

Two high school students wowed the women with their presentation asking for $20,000 on behalf of The Advocates’ Green Dot Bystander Intervention program.

 The program teaches students safe ways to intervene when they see bullying or other unacceptable behavior. That includes using distraction, by dropping schoolbooks in front of a bully, or telling a bully his or her actions are “not cool.”

In most cases of domestic violence or sexual assaults, there were people positioned to step up but they didn’t said Kenya Schott. “Green Dot is trying to change that.”

The rate of assaults on campuses where the Green Dot program has been implemented has been cut in half, she added.

Abby Latta said that The Advocates wants to expand the program to the middle school. It also is planning a two-day community event that will involve adults.

 “We want to create a norm where violence is no longer tolerated in our community,” she added.

  • Naomi Spence asked for $20,000 to purchase food for The Hunger Coalition’s relatively new Daily Bites program. The program provides healthy, non-perishable items such as granola bars, cheese and crackers, raisins and other dried fruits to school pantries and other places, such as The Hub at the Community Campus and libraries where latch-key kids hang out after school.

    Teachers can hand snacks out to students who don’t have snacks during snack time or offer the snacks to raise kids’ blood sugar to calm them down if they become upset.

    “The health of children is a community responsibility,” Spence said, noting that 1,400 students in Blaine County receive reduced-fee or free lunches. “Children who feel they’re not worthy of help are likely to grow into disenfranchised adults…These snacks help them stay engaged and focused when they’re in school.”

  • Tira Scott and Emilie Sisco requested $25,000 for Bonni’s Garden Greenhouse Learning Lab, which the Wood River YMCA wants to build in honor of the late Bonni Curran, who died in a bicycle accident two years ago.

    Growing healthy food in the garden will teach children about food and science and help Blaine County become one of the healthiest communities in the nation as it combats problems like obesity, said Scott.

    “If a child grows kale, a child will eat kale,” added Sisco.

  • Sarah Benson and Jay Hedrick requested $14,500 to fill the indoor Campion Ice House Hailey Ice is building on the rodeo grounds in Hailey. The request would help buy a Zamboni, bleachers, scoreboard, divider systems, regulation and mini-hockey nets.

    Hailey Ice anticipates as many as 30,000 children and adults would use the facility each year, including out-of-town tournament players “who would stay in our hotels and eat in our restaurants,” said Benson.

  • Sawtooth Botanical Garden’s new director Kat Vanden Heuvel requested $25,000 to enable the garden to provide more opportunities for kids to disengage from technology and engage with the environment.

    The grant would enable programs like the annual Bug Zoo Festival to be provided free of charge, as well as a new Weekly Discovery Club. The organization would also like to be able to be a field trip destination for existing day camps in the valley.

  • Sun Valley Center for the Arts requested $25,000 for its programs exposing students to art and artists. That includes Black Violin, a classically trained hip hop duo that will go into the classrooms next year.

    The Center is one of five accredited art museums in Idaho, meaning it’s the only museum a lot of local students see, noted Kathryn McNeal.

    “What’s so cool for us is when a little boy comes in (after a school field trip), dragging his grandmother to show her what he’s seen,” added Kristin Poole.

    Studies have shown that exposure to the arts makes kids more empathetic, in addition to being better lookers and listeners, she added.

  • Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest requested $25,000 for its Wood River Valley Teen Council Peer Education.

    The peer sex education program started this year with one boy and four girls who meet weekly after school to talk about all aspects of sexuality. They have also fielded questions from students who do not feel comfortable going to teachers or counselors but are willing to ask their peers, said Katy Nosworthy and Rialin Flores.

  • The Blaine County Education Foundation requested $22,500 for various programs, including its Can-Do Fund. The fund has assisted students with purchases they can’t afford, such as renting graduation gowns and accompanying fellow students to music competitions in Anaheim. It also helped a science teacher secure equipment for an afterschool forensic science club, said Kathleen McCabe and Jennifer Card.

In addition, The Senior Connection requested $15,000 for its Senior Meal Program. NAMI, the National Alliance of the Mentally Ill-Wood River Valley requested $20,000 for a crisis intervention training and inmate support group. And Girls on the Run-Wood River Valley asked for $11,600 for an issue-based community outreach.

Members of the Wood River Women’s Foundation will vote on which projects they would like their pooled money to go to. Each member contributes $1,000 per year to be dispersed among selected causes.

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