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Utah CUs grant $58K to schools
SALT LAKE CITY (1/9/13)--A credit union foundation here awarded Utah schools with more than $58,000 in grants last year.

Click to view larger image Utah's Two Rivers Alternative High School teacher Cassie Cox (right) accepts a grant check from 100% for Kids/America First CU representative Nicole Cypers (left). (Photo provided by The 100% For Kids Utah Credit Union Education Foundation)
Named "The 100% for Kids Utah Credit Union Education Foundation," it provided 21 districts and 36 schools funding in 2012 for things ranging from motivational speakers to greenhouses. The foundation's help has reached more than two million students since its inception.

With 28 credit unions donating to the cause the past 10 years, 100% for Kids relies on support from local credit unions. The foundation looks for grant applications that will impact the greatest number of students in the greatest way.

"At Two Rivers Alternative High School we are the last hope for students," said teacher Cassie Cox. "The last step between graduating and dropping out of high school."

Cox arranged to bring award-winning young adult authors to the school. By the end of the school year, two Rivers students will have met a Rwandan genocide survivor, featured in a television documentary "Lost Boys of Sudan," and Simeon Wright, a figure in the Civil Rights movement. After meeting these authors of living history, her students will be motivated to read and write more than ever, and those experiences will prove to be life-changing opportunities, she said. The foundation provided $1,500 to purchase books by the two authors.  

In the rural town of Morgan, Utah, teacher Megan Haslem used funds she received from the foundation to start a teaching greenhouse at the school. More than 730 students have access to the greenhouse through course projects.

The greenhouse means students can implement the scientific method in team-based inquiry labs. Inquiry labs promote innovative thinking to ask and answer problems. Students also get the opportunity to explore careers in horticulture. They help decide what to plant, they propagate plants and sell them to the community. Greenhouse students learn horticultural skills plus basic skills needed for future employment, Haslem said. "Responsibility, teamwork, problem solving, record keeping, goal setting and time management," she added.

The teaching greenhouse project eventually will be self-sustaining, selling items the students produce.

"Our board was very intrigued with this grant request because it covers multiple subject areas and grade levels," said foundation Director Liz White. "The self-sustaining business aspect was such a unique feature that we rarely see."

The 100% For Kids Utah Credit Union Education Foundation's mission is to improve education in Utah by enhancing and expanding classroom level resources and programs. It has donated more than $5 million since its inception in 2002, contributing to all of Utah's 40 school districts. All donated funds go directly to teachers for their classroom.

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