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13 groups vie for community grant funding

SOLANA BEACH — With 13 organizations seeking $55,500 in aid, City Council has the unenviable task of selecting which ones will receive funding from its annual Community Grant Program. 

Last year, with some out-of-the-box thinking and help from Santa Fe Christian Schools, the city was able to fund all eight requests totaling $32,990.

Santa Fe Christian has again offered to provide matching funds this year for the $15,000 that is available — $5,000 each from the city and its two waste haulers, EDCO and Waste Management.

But the city will still be short $25,500, so not every applicant will receive funding.

A Ship in the Woods, which operates out of a scheduled-to-be-demolished house near Lomas Santa Fe Country Club, provides space for art gallery displays, music, comedy, lectures and business meetings.

The group, which also allows artists to live in the house, is seeking $5,000 to continue the program once the building is destroyed.

BikeWalkSolana is asking for $4,400 for its bike safety rodeos that target elementary school students and offer inspections, skills assessment and, for low-income families, free helmets.

Some of the money would also be used for a WalkShop at Earl Warren Middle School. That program encourages students to find ways to improve walking and biking on and around the campus.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of San Dieguito is seeking $4,700 to help fund college nights at the La Colonia branch. Volunteers help teens with applications and financial aid. Many of the participants would be the first in their families to go to college, Annie Ragovin, director of fundraising and communications, said.

Money would be used for supplies and to take students on college visits outside San Diego County.

Casa de Amistad, a mentoring and tutoring program for kindergarten through 12th-grade Latino students in coastal North County, applied for a $5,000 grant for a new program called Parents in Action.

“We know that our volunteers really make a difference in our children’s lives, but really it comes down to parents,” Nicole Mione-Green, executive director, said.

The goal is “to empower the parents of traditionally underrepresented students to become leaders in their families and overcome barriers and help support their students’ academic success,” she said.

“A lot of our parents have not gone beyond sixth grade or eighth grade,” Mione-Green said.

The Community Resource Center is asking for $5,000 for its 31st annual Holiday Baskets, which will take place at the Del Mar Fairgrounds on Dec. 21 through Dec. 23.

The DelSol Lions Club would like $1,500 to help buy supplies for back-to-school backpacks it provides for nearly 200 Solana Beach elementary school children.

Maria McEneany, the club’s vice president of membership, said even by shopping at the $1 store, it costs about $35 to $40 to fill each backpack with items such as binders, dividers, paper, pencils, markers, planners, notebooks and a calculator.

Earl Warren Middle School applied for $1,400 to expand its garden, which unites mainstream and challenged students to harvest and, when applicable, cook what they grow.

Kids Korps USA is once again seeking $5,000 for its summer volunteer camps, a program developed for low-income children and teenagers from Eden Gardens.

Participants in the weeklong program perform a variety of community service projects that include beach cleanups, playing bingo at retirement homes and helping at food banks. The 2014 summer camps will expose students to the number and needs of military families in the county.

La Colonia de Eden Gardens applied for a $5,000 grant to help fund its summer leadership camp. Teenagers, mostly from Eden Gardens, spend a week at Whispering Winds in the Cuyamaca Mountains to develop leadership skills to help the community, learn about career opportunities, hike and swim.

The theater school at North Coast Repertory Theater is asking for $5,000 to help produce “Seussical Jr.,” a musical performance that brings Dr. Seuss characters to life.

SeaWeeders, an offshoot of the Solana Beach Garden Club, would like $3,500 to help “rejuvenate” the landscaping around the post office.

The St. James and St. Leo Medical and Dental Program, an all-volunteer organization that provides services to the working poor with no insurance, is seeking $5,000 to help diabetes patients.

Miracle League of San Diego applied for a $5,000 grant but could not attend the meeting to give a presentation.

Last year’s recipients were the Community Resource Center, Boys & Girls Clubs of San Dieguito, the Center for Academic & Social Advancement, St. James and St. Leo Medical and Dental Program, Earl Warren Middle School Parent/Teacher/Student Association and Kids Korps USA.

A grant request from North Coast Rep was fulfilled through the Public Arts Advisory Commission budget and Santa Fe Christian provided partial funding for Kids Korps and St. James and St. Leo and full funding for La Colonia de Eden Gardens.

Applicants must be nonprofit, nongovernmental groups and civic or youth organizations that serve Solana Beach and its residents.

A maximum of $5,000 will be awarded to any one program. City Council members will announce the recipients at the Dec. 11 meeting.

“Thanks to the generosity of Santa Fe Christian Schools it’s a little easier,” Mayor Mike Nichols said. “We appreciate everything you do for the community.”