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13 youth projects receive grants

By Paul Huggins 340-2395

Thirteen Morgan County youth groups came up with service projects worthy of funding from the 15th Annual Given the Opportunity awards.

The awards are sponsored each year by the Morgan County Substance Abuse Network and the Volunteer Center of Morgan County. They invited groups and children from elementary to high school to apply for grants not to exceed $200. Since 1993, the program has awarded grants to 364 youth-sponsored projects.

Prevention Grants

The awards also include Prevention Grants, given since 1997. This year, those went to Somerville Road Elementary School and Priceville High School for their anti-drug campaigns.

Rachel Clay's fifth-graders at Somerville Road will make drug-free bracelets and pass them out at Parent Teacher Association meetings. They also will be available at Decatur Public Library and Decatur Police Department.

Under the leadership of Marisa Pedings, the Somerville Road student council will make key chains for driver education students. The chains will have messages reminding the teens to drive safely, not talk on cell phones, don't drink and drive, and wear seatbelts.

  • elda Cocker will lead Priceville High School driver education students to design and administer a program with Fatal Vision goggles so seventh- and eighth-graders can better understand how alcohol distorts judgment and hampers physical reactions.

    Regular GTO grants this year include:

  • Banks-Caddell Elementary School student council and chorus, led by Teedi Engram and Melanie Holmes, will sing Christmas carols to students at Sterrs Day Care and read Christmas stories to the 21/2- to 5-year-olds. In the spring, they'll hide Easter eggs and do crafts with them.

  • Leon Sheffield third-graders, led by Susan England, will take photos of cats and dogs and make posters to create awareness for the Decatur Animal Shelter.

  • Somerville Road student council, led by Clay and Pedings, will buy supplies and decorate the rooms of children staying at Decatur General Hospital during Halloween, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, Easter and Saint Patrick's Day. They also will buy materials to make gingerbread houses and give them to nursing stations at the hospital during Christmas.

  • Union Hill second-graders, led by Carrie Abercrombie,
    will make gingerbread houses, Christmas cards and a Christmas tape for senior citizens. They will deliver them
    in person and sing carols to them.

  • Ninth Street United Methodist Church's youth ministry, led by Jeff Sellers, will buy materials to make care baskets filled with fruit, lotions and other skincare products and deliver them to retired residents of Wesley Acres and shut-ins in the community and at their church.

  • Priceville Junior High seventh-graders, led by Terri Nelson, will study ways to reduce bullying and make a brochure and bracelets, perform a skit for students and take surveys for teachers. They also will vow to STAMP out bullying in their school, following the acronym: Stay away from bullies; Tell someone; Avoid bad situations; Make friends; and Project confidence.

  • Brewer High School student council, led by Terry Leeth, will make gift bags for nursing home residents and visit with them.

    The school's Spanish Club, led by Donna Banks, will fill shoe boxes with gifts and hygiene products for needy youths in Morgan County this Christmas. The students also will have a competition
    to raise more money for the gifts.

  • Brewer's Friends Helping Friends group, led by Christy Clark, will buy gifts and clothes for Morgan County foster children. They also will raise more money for the project.

  • First United Methodist Church's youth group, led by Beth Green and Mike Booler, will prepare Thanksgiving meals or gather the necessary groceries and delivery them to needy families.

  • Priceville High School's Senior Girls Society, led by Kim Holmes, will make fleece blankets for children of battered women in Somerville.

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