Manor Middle School teacher Chris Telesco wanted to take several male students on field trips as part of a program called Fusion that matches boys from broken homes with teacher mentors for after-school activities.
But the cost of bus transportation and admission fees was prohibitive.
Enter the Penn Manor Education Foundation, which awarded Telesco a $1,400 grant that paid for recent trips to Lancaster Ice Rink and SkyZone.
“These two trips have allowed us to build rapport with these kids, teach them life lessons, model what it means to be a man, and let them know someone cares,” said Telesco. “Most of the students had never been ice skating before.”
Telesco is one of 55 teachers and hundreds of students benefitting this year from the foundation’s Venture Grant Program, which awarded 47 grants totaling nearly $46,000 this school year.
The money is helping pay for musical instruments, science testing materials, foreign language novels, document cameras and artists in residence – all designed to bolster classroom instruction in ways not possible with limited school district funding.
In all, the Foundation has awarded nearly $700,000 in grants since the program began in 2000.
The projects are funded with donations from Penn Manor community and district staff members, alumni and area businesses participating in the Educational Improvement Tax Credit program. This year, EITC donors provided $19,500 for Venture Grants.
“There is a lot of pride and loyalty in the Penn Manor community, and this naturally extends to our Foundation,” said Anne Kinderwater Carroll, PMEF executive director.
“The teachers, staff, alumni, parents and businesses are pretty amazing at giving to PMEF because there is a trust that we are working to fund experiences and equipment not typically supported through a district budget.”
This year’s grants ranged from $45 for a Time for Kids subscription at Central Manor Elementary School to $4,500 for probes, sensors and other specialized measurement equipment for physics and forensics classes at Penn Manor High School.
Other grants helped pay for a flight simulator, guitars, pianos and microphones, Lego robots and an environmental field trip to the Susquehanna River.
Projects are submitted by Penn Manor teachers and selected for funding by a committee of the PMEF’s 15-member volunteer board. In addition to Venture Grants, the foundation also awards more than $61,000 each year in scholarships to graduating Penn Manor High School seniors.
Many of the awards are in honor of Penn Manor community members.
To learn more about Penn Manor Education Foundation, visit the organization’s website, www.pennmanor.net/foundation/, or call (717) 872-9500, ext. 2332.
See the full list of grants here: 2015-16 Venture Grants