Scarlett Basvil gets excited over a pair of sneakers while shopping at Marshalls in February. The shoe-buying event was organized by The Assistance League of San Dieguito, which used a $3,000 grant from the Community Grant Program. The group applied for the same grant this year. Photo by Bianca Kaplanek
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11 groups vie for $25,000 in grant funding

SOLANA BEACH — Eleven groups seeking a total of $52,000 applied for the annual Community Grant Program, which provides funding to nonprofit, nongovernmental groups and civic or youth organizations serving Solana Beach and its residents.

Nearly all have requested and received money in the past and all but two asked for the maximum $5,000 allotment.

To help council members decide who should receive funding, each applicant was given up to three minutes at the Nov. 18 meeting to explain how the money would be used.

The Assistance League of San Dieguito, which provides money and volunteers to help low-income families shop for clothing for their children, was awarded a grant last year with the condition that the funds for its Operation School Bell Clothing Children Program be spent in Solana Beach.

The organization partnered with Marshalls and in February about 40 youngsters from St. Leo’s Head Start program descended upon the store for “a shoe-buying experience,” Roberta Waterman, board president, said.

The event was presented during the organization’s national conference to highlight “how we can develop a relationship that benefits children who may be in need,” she said. “So we’re back again requesting the $3,000 grant so that we can continue the program for the children at St. Leo’s Head Start.”

The Surfrider Foundation applied for a $4,000 grant for its Ocean-Friendly Restaurants Program, which works with restaurants to reduce the use of disposable plastic waste that ends up on the beach and in the ocean, Mitch Silverstein said.

The grant money would be used to buy sustainable takeout containers for the handful of Solana Beach restaurants that still use polystyrene, which was recently banned in the city.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of San Dieguito applied for funding for its free summer programs, such as field trips and swim classes, at the La Colonia branch.

Nicole Mione-Green, executive director of Casa de Amistad, a tutoring and mentoring program, said the money would be used for the study companions program.

The Community Resource Center, which been awarded a grant for the past five years, once again asked for funding for Holiday Baskets.

The annual distribution program provides a dignified and free “shopping experience” for families who might otherwise receive nothing for the holidays. It will take place at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in December.

Manny Aguilar said La Colonia de Eden Gardens will again use the grant for its summer leadership camp for teenagers.

“In 2010 … we had a lot of problems in Eden Gardens,” he said. “And one of the reasons that we don’t have the problems that we had then now is because of the community collaborations that we’ve built.

“And it’s made a difference because these youth have now grown up to be young leaders that are serving in our community,” he added. “They go to this camp and they come back energized, and they’re really wanting to be involved.”

North Coast Repertory Theatre plans to use the money for “Honk! Jr.” Part of the theater’s Art with a Heart Program, the youth production will include community outreach to address friendship, tolerance and accepting yourself for who you are, artistic associate Ben Cole said.

Any proceeds will benefit the Wounded Warriors Project.

Reality Changers helps youth from disadvantaged backgrounds become first-generation college students by providing academic support, financial assistance and faith-based leadership training. The money will go toward the organization’s College Apps Academy for students in grades eight through 12.

The all-volunteer St. James and St. Leo Medical and Dental Program, which provides medical care for the uninsured working poor, is seeking a grant to help diabetes patients.

Solana Beach Little League needs the money to rebuild the Snack Shack at Solana Vista Elementary School. The baseball organization began fundraising for the $175,000 project about three years ago. So far about $90,000 has been raised.

The structure, built in 1970, is termite-infested, league volunteer Tom Nicholas said. The sewer lines have been damaged by tree roots, the electrical is faulty and the hardware on the windows and doors is falling apart.

A representative from the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy was unable to attend the meeting.

According to its application the money will be used for the San Dieguito River Watershed Explorers Program, which provides an opportunity for underserved students to get outside and learn what a watershed is and why its health is important for preserving wildlife and plants, supplying water and keeping water clean.

The grant program was approved in 2004 with $5,000 each from Coast Waste Management and EDCO Waste and Recycling Services, the city’s two waste haulers, and $15,000 from the city.

For the past few years Santa Fe Christian Schools has provided $15,000 in monetary and in-kind donations, primarily for programs in Eden Gardens. Assistant City Manager Dan King will meet with representatives from the private school to discuss its participation again this year.

Council will announce the grant recipients at the Dec. 9 meeting.