Although we award grants for special school-based activities, we are not affiliated with the school system, and we do not exist merely to supplement school budgets. To provide stability and encourage success, we are willing to grant a project twice; in time, many have proven their sustainability.
Past grants include the Kalmia Garden Farmhouse Concerts; Paws for Reading (a dog therapy reading program at John Lyman School); the Durham Fair Composting Project; the Coginchaug Bicycle Center at Coginchaug Regional High School; a Durham/Library/Eli Whitney Museum Workshop for Young Adults; a Durham Garden Club Gardening Expo; and a Durham Animal Rescue Training; and the New Horizons adult band, now the Community Band (read an article about them here).
SPRING 2017 GRANT RECIPIENTS
JUNIOR PRODUCTION TEAM PAPERHOUSE PRODUCTIONS New portable sound system will allow youth theater company (grades 5-12) to expand performances to the greater Durham/Middlefield community.
WRITERS WORKSHOP SERIES DURHAM PUBLIC LIBRARY & PALS Following up on successful writers’ lectures, offer series of three participatory workshops on novel writing, memoir writing & children’s literature.
3D WESTERN MULTIMEDIA PROJECT ELLEN SMITH AHEARN Second half of a project begun in Wyoming that will result in multimedia installation combining dance, film & storytelling. Result will depict landscape of the two and our connection to it.
SUGARLOAF KNOWLEDGE NETWORK MIDDLEFIELD HOUSING AUTHORITY Monthly educational & recreational workshops open to Sugarloaf residents and other Middlefield seniors. Build mutual support & sense of community among seniors.
SAVE THE BATS! MEMORIAL SCHOOL Fifth graders will research bats and importance to ecosystem, build bat houses & then sell them as fundraiser to sustain project going forward.
BUILDING OUR WAY TO CREATING & LEARNING DISTRICT 13 Keva Plank sets will be utilized as a tool for k-4 students to increase engagement as well as integrate STEM concepts in all subject areas.
YOUR WILD NEIGHBORHOOD DART Run seminar & provide other materials, including social media outlets, to educate residents on safe ways to help wildlife in our communities.
MAKERSPACE CONCEPTS STRONG SCHOOL Circuitry, Keva Planks and Robotics will be the foundation of a Makerspace to be housed in the Strong School LMC. Materials will be available for after school sessions and eventually open to community participation.
BIKE/PEDESTRIAN PUBLIC SAFETY EDUCATION DURHAM COMPLETE STREETS ACTION GROUP Create public awareness campaign to promote bike & pedestrian safety in Durham; how to be safe on local roads.
COMMUNITY CHOIR, PART DEUX LISA LARSEN Purchase equipment & materials to complete essential materials for 80+-member choir as it enters second phase, following a very successful first concert.
BORROW A NATURE PACK LEVI COE LIBRARY Encourage more outside exploration by providing backpacks for children & adults to take with them on hikes. Will include binoculars, compass, bug magnifier, journal, field guides.
EVERYONE OUTSIDE IN DURHAM & MIDDLEFIELD LUCY MEIGS Continue to promote health & environmental stewardship by recruiting & educating mentors to help organization connect more children & people with natural world.
CONNECTIONS THROUGH PUZZLES BRONWYN COMMINS Using jigsaw puzzles in schools and other community-based environments to build confidence, relieve anxiety and promote interpersonal skills & connections – all without the use of technology.
SPRING 2016 GRANT recipients
ADVENTURES IN CARDBOARD DMYFS BETSY DEAN Based on youth survey responses that rated “creative activities” at a 17%, this organization has been awarded funds to sponsor a program entitled Pirates, Parrots and Planks. Children will construct ships, swords, treasure chests, telescopes and more out of cardboard and then after researching that era of swashbuckling adventure, will role play the characters as they enact authentic scenes with their constructions.
DISCOVERY FAIR IDS AND DISTRICT #13 CHRISTINE FOSTER/TINA HURLBERT Based on research that only 40% of U.S. children are ready for kindergarten and that math and science skills are lacking, this project will sponsor a one day fair for parents and their children to explore science concepts in a playful way. They can experiment with materials, build a prototype and view the showpieces which will be constructed prior to the Discovery Day in a series of workshops held in the summer. All for free!
COGINCHAUG COMMISSION PROJECT TIMOTHY FISHER Since music is such a core ingredient in the learning opportunities for District #13 students, this project will further expand those opportunities by securing the talents of a composer/conductor to write a piece of music for the CRHS band, The band can witness firsthand the process of creating a piece of music and will work closely with the composer as part of the Music Theory classes. The band will then premiere the piece at a community concert. The program title page will read something like: “ The (title of piece) was commissioned by CVEF for the CRHS Concert Band, Director Timothy Fisher.”
SOUP, SALAD AND LEARN AMANDA PEDERSEN DURHAM SENIOR CITIZENS BOARD Since our mission is concerned with life long learning, this project will engage seniors in the community and world at large by offering stimulating programs during the already existing lunch program that occurs once a month. Some of these programs have already begun and had substantial attendance and interest - 65 to the first event and 75 to the second which was the History of Irish Immigration Through Music. CVEF sponsorship will allow this program to continue and to draw even more seniors into an opportunity for opening their minds to new ideas and information.
COMMUNITY CHOIR LISA LARSEN Responding to residents who have asked about finding a place to sing as an adult, Lisa is forming an adult choir. The choir would meet for two 8-10 week practice sessions and then perform a spring and fall concert for the public. The selections would be music from Broadway, Jazz, Pop and novelty songs. Choir members would receive a rehearsal track for practice at home so that actual rehearsals could be kept to a minimum. Members may have a fee of $20 to pay for the music. The hope is to sustain this choir as a permanent addition to the life of our two communities.
GRAVE IDENTIFICATION AND GPS PLOTTING OF INTERNMENTS AT OLD NORTH BURYING GROUNDS OF MIDDLEFIELD, CT ROBIN HEATH Because there is an interest in the study of the past and many of the gravestones are unrecognizable because of the torrents of time, this project will label the unreadable headstones and provide a GPS record of their locations in the cemetery. When complete, this information will be available to the public to view and use at the Middlefield Historical Society, and both town libraries. Robin will coordinate with Boy Scout Troop 33 and the Middletown chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
BRINGING THE CEMETERY TO LIFE LORRIE MARTIN AND DUNCAN BATES (BOY SCOUT TROOP 270 AND DISTRICT #13) Deterioration of the gravestones in the Old Durham Cemetery is making this cemetery unusable to the public as a source of learning the historical aspects of the town of Durham. This project will use the technique of QR coding (which residents can download onto an iPhone) in order to see photos, view writings and listen to audio memories of people buried there dating back to the early 1700’s. When completed, the project directors will host an “Educational/Historical Tour” through the cemetery open to the public. The hope is also that this historical information will be available to students through field trips associated with the curriculum. There will be coordination with many civic organizations including the town of Durham, the Cemetery Association, the Historical Society and more.
SAFE RIDES CHRISTEN BERT (CRHS FACULTY) MADISON TERRILL (CUSP) As a way to increase community involvement and to adhere to our Core Ethical values, this grant will set up a local Safe Rides program which will provide free and anonymous rides to any resident of any age who would like to get home safely. The program would rely on community volunteers who would answer phones on Friday and Saturday nights between the hours of 10:00 pm and 1:30 am and other volunteers who would serve as designated drivers. This is an independent project designed by a junior at CRHS and supervised by a faculty member.
HOLISTIC WELLNESS DISCOVERY DAY TRISH CONNOLLY (TOMLINSON LIBRARY( and PAT MURAWSKI (PALS PRESIDENT) Based on the success of the summer reading program, this grant will expand this year’s theme of Health and Fitness into the adult community by offering a day long series of workshops on lesser known health practices. Possible topics include: T’ai Chi, Vegan Cooking, Chiropathy, Acupuncture, Reiki and Yoga. The event will occur on a summer Saturday at the library. The library has sponsored summer workshop days before and they have been well received by the community.
EVERYONE OUTSIDE IN DURHAM AND MIDDLEFIELD LUCY MEIGS Based on facts from the book Last Child in the Woods, this project will provide unstructured time for children and adults to explore the wonders of nature. Research shows that adult stewardship of the earth is the result of having the opportunity to be outside and learn an appreciation of nature and living things. This project has three parts: 1) a pre-school program 2) an after school program for older students making use of Mica Ledges, a nature preserve owned by the Middletown Land Trust and 3) a series of 5 nature walks with adult mentors accompanying younger children and passing on their knowledge and appreciation of the outdoors.