By Ben Olson
The Community Assistance League met June 20 for “A Celebration of Giving,” the organization’s annual gathering to recognize those who have received grants and scholarships. About 100 people packed into the Sandpoint Organic Agricultural Center meeting room to celebrate another season of giving for CAL.
Scholarship Committee Chairperson Heather Hellier introduced the annual scholarships awarded to deserving Bonner County students.
“This is a really tough job,” Hellier said. “We had 68 applicants, all who were worthy, but we only had $55,000 to give away. We wanted to select fewer so we could give more meaningful scholarships to people.”
Hellier listed all recipients of CAL scholarships, including from Sandpoint High School: Anna Auld, Emma Brown, Ethan Butler, Spencer Clark, Sophie Dignan, Madison Duke, Adriana Foxx, Piper Frank, Shane Griffin, Ben Jordan, John Keegan, Nicolas LaMana, McKenzie Lindley, Jessica Lotze, Ava Mazzilli, Kate McGregor, Mason Mikolas, Mirabella Nizzoli, Blake Sherrill, Aiden Smith and Amanda Steiner.
From Clark Fork High School: Sam Barnett, Katelyn Matteson, Taylor Staley, Grace Yancey and Caiya Yanik.
From Priest River Lamanna High School: Bowen Fegert, Shane Gambler and Brady O’Brien.
Raney Hazan from Forrest M. Bird Charter School also received a scholarship.
Students who received delayed or renewed awards include: Darren Bailey, Bryce Beason, Taylor Beauchene, Connor Bird, Ellen Clark, Gabrielle Hicks, Elaine Huang, Annaby Kanning, Shelby Mohler, Sage Saccomanno, Mikayla Schoening and Kaya Wright.
Three SHS graduates were invited to introduce themselves, including Ben Jordan, who said he’ll be heading to Arizona State University in the fall where he’ll major in computer science at the Fulton School of Engineering. Fellow SHS grad John Keegan — who is also a National Merit Scholarship finalist — said his plan is to attend the University of Idaho in Moscow to study either mechanical engineering or computer science. Ava Mizzilli plans to attend Gonzaga University in the fall, where she’ll start studying nursing.
CAL Grants Team Chairperson Jan Harrison next announced all organizations that had received CAL Grants in 2022.
“This year, we got to give away $151,000,” Harrison said. “There was one organization we wanted to give to, but couldn’t, and that’s Kinderhaven. Due to legislation that has [made it] very difficult for them to operate, they have decided to cease to exist and this breaks 200 CAL hearts. I’m sure that the volunteers at Kinderhaven will find a way to be a significant force in our community.”
Grant recipients were announced one at a time, with a brief explanation of what the donations will be used for.
The Angels Over Sandpoint received support for its annual Back To School program. The Arts Alliance grant will help support the Creations space in the Cedar Street Bridge. The Bonner General Health Healing Garden received a grant to help repair an aging fountain.
Longtime CAL grant recipient Bonner Community Food Bank distributed more than 800,000 pounds of food during 2021. Their award will help further the mission to keep food on the table for area residents. The Bonner Community Housing Agency grant will pay for a year’s worth of propane for one of its homes. The Bonner County Gardeners Association accepted funding for its program building gardens at elementary schools.
The Bonner Soil and Water District will use its grant to provide an educational program in summertime, which last year visited 14 schools and 430 students. Bonner Partners in Care Clinic is available to provide free clinics, lab work and access to doctors for those who are uninsured or underinsured. The Carousel of Smiles also received a grant to help fund renovations.
Clark Fork-Hope Senior Services received a grant to purchase a new range, since its current one is 17 years old and has a gas leak. Community Cancer Services provides assistance for needs that health insurance doesn’t cover, such as fuel, lost wages and child care. The Sandpoint Farmers’ Market received a grant that will help support its Double Up Food Bucks program, which matches EBT dollars to help encourage better eating habits while supporting local farmers.
The Festival at Sandpoint received a grant to assist three programs: the Festival Youth Orchestra, the Elementary Outreach Program and the Pre-K Outreach Program. Firewood Rescue provides firewood for those who are unable to gather it themselves. The CAL grant helped fund a log splitter, a utility trailer and a storage shed.
Food for Our Children’s grant will help provide midday snacks and weekend food for elementary school children in need. Helping Hands Healing Hearts received funding to help provide clothing, furniture and financial assistance for both adults and children. Idaho Hill Elementary School in Oldtown received a grant to help purchase books for its students.
Idaho Panhandle Habitat for Humanity received money to purchase a 40-foot shipping container, as well as two gas-forced air furnaces to keep its warehouse warm in the winter. The Music Conservatory of Sandpoint accepted funding to pay for the final purchase of the Bösendorfer grand piano played at MCS daily by students.
North Idaho High School Aerospace Program received a grant to purchase a plane kit from Kansas City, Mo.
The Panida Theater was awarded a grant to help pay for vital roof repairs, while the Pend Oreille Arts Council received funding to help with its Kaleidoscope Art Program in elementary schools.
The Priest River Food Bank accepted a grant to help supplement its pantries after weather-related crop shortages resulted in food shortages. Priest River Ministries received funding to upgrade to its HVAC system, which has failed.
The Sagle Fire District obtained a grant to help pay for a special extractor to clean contaminated fire suits. The Sandpoint Area Seniors acquired a grant to fund new flooring in its office area, which has become a tripping hazard. Sandpoint High School received assistance to help fund its annual finance fair. The Sandpoint Nordic Club provides free use of cross-country and snowshoe equipment for third- to sixth-grade students.
Selkirk Conservation Alliance monitors water quality in Priest Lake and funding will help pay for lab samplings, analysis and reporting. Southside Elementary received a grant to help fund its STEM programs. The Unique Center for Athletes of All Needs received funding to help their programs giving better access to fitness and activities for special needs children and adults in Bonner County.
Washington Elementary School accepted a grant to help with two projects — one to buy clay for art projects and the second being tables for holding outdoor classes to help with attention and information retention.
Finally, the Sandpoint VFW Post accepted a grant to help pay for new siding on its building.
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