Grants awarded for community programs in Bethel

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by Greg Lincoln

The Bethel Community Action Grant program (CAG) is now in its sixth year of providing grant opportunities to local organizations and individuals for their civic programs or events that contribute to the health, welfare and overall lives of the residents of Bethel, especially its most vulnerable populations.

Funding for the grants comes from the City Council who has committed to budget an amount equal to 20% of the revenue generated from the alcohol tax to health, public safety, and social services that offset the effects of alcohol in the community.

The Community Action Grant Technical Review Board was created to develop a process to solicit grant applications, review them, and recommend funding selections to City Council. They are a volunteer group of citizens who meet quarterly to review CAG applications, score them, and provide funding recommendations to City Council.

The Year 6/Quarter 2 CAG Board approved award recipients are: the Orutsararmiut Native Council ($6,190), Healing Through Music and Dance with Bethel Community Services Foundation ($3,500), and the YK Fitness Center ($2,850).

The Bethel City Council authorized issuance of the grants during their July 25th, 2023 regular meeting passing Action Memorandum 23-17 unanimously.

The ONC Senior Services grant award is for Transportation Assistance for Senior Clients and Caretaker to provide transportation assistance to program clients and their eligible caregivers over the course of 1 year.

“The funding received through this grant will further the Senior Service’s goal to allow older Alaskans to maintain their quality of life within our community. By providing this service, it will allow our clients the opportunity to age safely within Bethel, maintain their independence, and help support their basic needs by having an ability to receive transportation to and from destinations they need to get to safely. It is also worth noting that the Senior Services department serves eligible community members who meet the eligibility criteria, are 65 years or older, individuals with disabilities, and/or their caretaker, and not just Tribal members. The proposed budget aims to address the needs of up to 50 seniors and 25 caretakers a month, for a period of 1 year,” states the program description.

The Healing Through Music and Dance grant’s purpose is to “create music, clear a path for safe creative expression of feelings, begin trauma recovery, build lasting relationship, and harmonica workshops with Harmonica Man Mike Stevens. Stevens will offer looper workshops at ME-2 and KLA, and harmonica workshops at KLA and Gladys Jung (for 3rd & 6th graders)” in September 2023.

The YK Fitness Center award will be for the Healthy Activities Club Healthy Snack Initiative. The project summary says “the Healthy Activities Club is an activity program for children age 5-13 that runs during school breaks. We provide 2 sessions of healthy activities 5 days per week for up to 20 participants. During each of the 2 daily sessions we provide a healthy snack using the My Plate model. With the high cost of food, particularly fresh fruits, vegetables, and dairy products we are seeking assistance to be able to provide the best options for our participants.”

The next CAG application period opens Aug. 1, 2023 – Aug. 30, 2023.