Ligonier Valley Education Trust (LVET) has announced the awarding of nine 2020 grants to eligible nonprofit organizations located in the Ligonier Valley School District.

LVET holds an annual reception for recipients to present the checks but that will not occur this year.

David Steimer, board president, explained, “The Ligonier Valley Education Trust will be unable to hold their annual grant presentation reception in April due to the current situation involving the coronavirus pandemic.”

The mission of the Trust states it is “to support and promote a broad range of educational activities, projects and programs for residents in all communities of the Ligonier Valley.”

Dustin Barr, a current board member, at a previous grants reception stated that “The Ligonier Valley Education Trust was initially created and funded by Tom and Tina Thoburn in 1996 as a donor advised fund with the Community Foundation of Westmoreland County (CFWC).

“The goal of the Thoburns was to provide small grants to support educational projects in the Ligonier Valley School District, to enable schools and community organizations the opportunity to provide more programs and learning opportunities for all ages.”

Barr also offered that,”the Trust receives grant applications in February, and then a board of local volunteers reviews the applications, and makes formal recommendations to the CFWC for distributions in line with the goals that were established by the Thoburns.

“In addition to overseeing the annual grant process, the board also organizes fundraising projects throughout the year, in order to provide more funding for the LVET grants. The fundraising this year includes their annual participation in The Stroll in Ligonier, where they have a dessert stand. The Stroll this year is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 14.”

Lastly he commented that “it was an honor to be part of such a wonderful organization, to provide funding for these projects, and to fulfill the Thoburn’s wishes on an annual basis.”

Members of the LVET board of trustees include David Steimer, president; Arlene Lowry, vice president; Peggy McDonald, secretary; Janet Smith, treasurer; Dustin Barr, Carol Fenton, Pam Hysong, Patsy Kennedy, Mary Lindh, Mary Marcum, Joyce Miller and Doug Welty.

“Because the deadline for submitting the grant application was Feb 28, prior to the current situation with the coronavirus pandemic, some of the recipients may not be able to complete their goals until next year,” Smith nit.

Recipients and goals the grants will allow them to achieve include:

  • Weeders and Seeders Garden Club of Ligonier — “Native Bee and Honeybee Education for Ligonier Pupils Coming to the Watershed Farm,” to use for bee hotel, metal signs and handouts. Ligonier learners, an estimated 300, attending this Watershed Environmental Education program would be actively involved in monitoring a bee hotel and recording their results for the Weeders and Seeders Club, submitted by Dr. Wilma Light, Club treasurer;
  • SAMA in Ligonier — “Children’s Summer Art Camp,” needs art supplies for two summer art camps. The age range is 5 to 16 years old. The younger group’s camp is “Create and Play” and the older group’s is “Welcome Back Water.” Each group will have an exhibition reception at the camp completion, submitted by Kristin Miller, site coordinator at Ligonier Valley Museum;
  • Fort Ligonier — “George Washington’s 288th Birthday,” funding and supplies for the celebration. More than 500 areas first graders have come to Fort Ligonier and been involved in educational activities to celebrate George Washington’s birthday, submitted by Henry Scully, executive director;
  • Ligonier Valley Middle School — “Make-n-Take” for the purchase of various art supplies for 75 to 100 learners in grades 6-8. Participants will be given the opportunity to participate in after-school and extra in-school art activities. This project hopes to fill a void in the number of art activities offered compared to academics and athletics, submitted by Kelly Ankney, sixth grade teacher;
  • Ligonier Valley Middle School — “Food 2 Go” for the purchase of items to assist in the organization and distribution of the district’s backpack program, which serves 165-plus Ligonier learners from elementary through high school, submitted by Eric Vogelsang, student council sponsor, and Erika Moore, high school intern;
  • Wood Bridge Preschool — “Renewed, Expanded Dramatic Play Area,” to purchase items for the play area, a popular center used by 52 learners during free time. There is a need of cookware sets, play appliances, a veterinarian set and more. Most of the current items being used were donated and are showing their age, submitted by Emily Leone Honhart, trustee;
  • Ligonier Valley Library — “Board Game Bonanza,” to purchase board games that encourage STEM (science, technology, engineering and math)-related thinking skills. An event for all ages will be hosted at the library to introduce people to the new board games. The games will be used by all library departments from children’s to young adult to the PA Room. Other special activities will be scheduled or patrons can use them at the library with their own groups or partners, submitted by Annamae Bolen, youth services coordinator and teen librarian;
  • Stahlstown Flax Scutching Festival — “Interactive Children’s Area” to acquire supplies such as microscopes, magnifying glasses and dip pens, to expand their children’s area. It will involve using microscopes so children and adults can compare flax fibers to other modern day fibers. Magnifying glasses used in a variety of ways such as viewing arrowheads and rocks. The dip pens would be used in conjunction with the now owned quill pens for children to experiment with various old-fashioned writing tools, submitted by Marilee Pletcher executive director;
  • Ligonier Valley Historical Society — “A Day at Compas Inn” to purchase various supplies including a vintage stagecoach horn. Learners of 500 to 900 in grades 1-5 will role-play as a person who lived, worked or passed through Compass Inn in years gone by. They will also be interacting with selected artifacts. This will replace the previous experience that relied heavily on the lecture method of learning, submitted by Amanda Seim, program coodinator.

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