Grant reports for Freeborn County Community Foundation

Published 8:22 pm Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Albert Lea Community Theatre

Project: Theater improvements

Report: The $5,000 grant was used toward the investment of new stage lighting at Marion Ross Performing Arts Center. Many new lighting instruments have been purchased, replacing some lights that were 40 to 50 years old — the original stage lighting. Two large light bars above the audience were moved out into the theater and rewired to provide improved lighting for the stage. According to a press release, the investment will improve the audience experience at all ACT shows for many years to come.

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Albert Lea Art Center

Project: Community outreach

Report: Due to grant funds, the Albert Lea Art Center is able to introduce a new project “Creating Community.” With the $5,000 grant, the Art Center plans to broaden its outreach to include newcomers to the area through the display and promotion of the arts.

According to a press release, every immigrant to the area, from the 1850s to today, has brought music, crafts, skills, talents, foods and creative arts that are unique to his or her heritage. While these traditions eventually assimilate into the U.S. picture, they remain special and connect each person with their country of origin, such as lefse for Norwegians and polka music for Germans.

The purpose of the grant is to welcome newcomers of the 21st century to the community by encouraging the sharing of the arts through programs, lectures, concerts and art shows, and to work with area agencies to expand understanding and hospitality through cultural heritage.

The ALAC goals are inclusivity, collaboration, enrichment, education and sharing of the arts — a universal language.


LakeView Lions Club

Project: Foster Care Backpack Project

Report: A backpack is a simple item, but according to a press release, it means so much to the children who receive it. Children who are placed in foster car sometimes arrive to a foster home with just the clothes they are wearing. That is when the LakeView Lions Club receives a call and puts together a backpack. Each backpack has a gift card or diapers, personal care items, underwear, socks, a blanket and pillow, stuffed animal, games and school items. All backpacks are age appropriate for the child receiving it. The child gets to keep the backpack and the items in the backpack.

During the last three years, the organization has served over 70 children from birth to 17 years old.


Pelican Breeze

Project: Float the Boat

Report: The Float the Boat project is intended to provide an opportunity for people of all ages to tour Albert Lea Lake. To ensure sustainability, the Pelican Breeze Foundation plans to purchase a newer motor as part of the Float the Boat project.

According to a press release, 33 public cruises and 22 private cruises were scheduled this past year. Passengers included many from area nursing homes and handicapped groups that would not otherwise have been able to tour the lake. The over 1,000 passengers also include people from several states and countries.

This past summer, the Pelican Breeze had the opportunity to participate in several community events. During the Just Play festivals, Pelican Breeze offered rides at special lower rates, making it possible for additional people to ride the Pelican Breeze II.

Next year, the organization hopes to participate in more community events. The grant will assist the organization in doing so. It will also allow the group to continue its low cost structure for the public.

Since 1996, the Pelican Breeze, and now the Pelican Breeze II, have provided a travelling billboard for Albert Lea Lake, the release said.


Senior Resources

Project: Family Caregivers Network

Report: Family Caregivers Network supports those caring for a family member in the home, helping to sustain the caregiver’s own physical and mental health. Caregivers who are supported are less likely to experience the isolation and depression that can accompany daily caregiving stressors. This promotes continuity of care, helps keep the person cared for in their own home and avoids premature institutionalization and its costs for both the family and the community.

Through September 2017, Family Caregivers Network added 17 new caregivers, continued to offer caregiver support groups for an average of 18 participants in two sessions each month and provided 238 hours of respite to caregivers and their families, as a break from routine care schedules.

According to a press release, some of the education offerings for adults, made possible with this grant and through the Family Caregivers Network include Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer’s Caregiver Health and the Living Well with Chronic Conditions class series.

Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer’s Caregiver Health in the community is a new, individualized program which offers support and education for families living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. Four sessions — in person or via phone — provide education and guidance as well as ongoing support as needed.

Living Well with Chronic Conditions is a class series that is offered twice a year for any adult with chronic health conditions. Conditions may include arthritis, Parkinson’s and diabetes, among others. Two-hour classes take place each week for six weeks and help teach self-management techniques with a curriculum developed by Stanford University.


Albert Lea TTT Chapter W

Project: Sponsoring campers, replacing supplies and widenning the organization’s reach

Report: TTT is a national organization founded in 1911 by six young women. The women saw the need for girls activities in their hometown of Mount Pleasant, Iowa. According to a press release, they wanted to make a difference with their time, talents and treasures to their community.

Camping for girls and more’s purpose is to provide a camping experience for fourth-grade girls without any financial obligation to the camper’s family. The goal is to provide an atmosphere where girls can build their self-esteem, improve social skills, gain self-confidence and make new friends.

The girls who are selected to go to camp each year are chosen by the school social worker along with the help of fourth-grade teachers. These girls may have had adverse childhood experiences. They may  have experienced their parents’ divorce, a death in the family, poverty, abuse, neglect or may be an English language learning family. These girls may not otherwise get the opportunity to go to summer camp.

The 20 members of the Albert Lea TTT Chapter W raise funds each year to cover all camping expenses. The group provides clothes, shoes, toiletries, sleeping bags and everything four to five girls need for a week at camp.

TTT Chapter W was founded in Albert Lea 54 years ago. It is a nonprofit, public charity. The goal is to fund four to six girls’ camping adventures at Camp Tanglefoot in Clear Lake, Iowa. While at camp, the girls get to go boating, swimming and develop team-building skills.

According to a press release, the girls leave camp with a newfound love, concern and respect for one another. They learn about their own self-worth, self-expression and how to live harmoniously with others.


Boy Scouts of America Twin Valley Council

Project: camping experiences, retention and recruitment of scouts, leadership training and professional support.

Report: Twin Valley Council operated a Cub Scout Twilight Camp that was open to all Cub Scouts, overnight Cub-O-Ree Camp and Camp-O-Ree Camp, along with an overnight event which was at the Minnesota Science Museum — Sleeping with the Dinosaurs. The organization also had Boy Scout Summer Camp at Camp Cuyuna near Crosslake.

Recruiting materials are provided to all units at no charge from the Twin Valley Council. The assistance ensures units have the resources to invite new youth to join the scouting program. The materials made available include posters, yard signs, parent orientation guide books, bookmarks, postcards and stickers.

According to a press release, the scouting program helps and teaches parents how to play, grow and learn with their kids. The three aims of scouting include character development, teaching kids to participate in citizenship and encouraging physical fitness.