Grants bolster school safety, financial education
Two Cullman County schools are the recipients of grants from the Cullman County Community Development Commission (CCCDC) to invest in safety equipment, which matches a nationwide trend of increased campus security.
Fairview Middle School and West Point Elementary School each received $2,100 grants from the CCCDC on Oct. 9 to install keypads to filter those who wish to enter the campuses.
“These will allow us to monitor people who come in the building,” Fairview Middle School principal Trina Walker said. “We want to be able to say OK to those who come in.”
Walker said that it was becoming increasingly more common for schools to install equipment to monitor visitors in the wake of national tragedies.
“The safety for our kids — our students — is what this is all about,” she said. “This is for our faculty, staff, kids and students.”
West Point Elementary School principal Angie Yabrough said the CCCDC money would help her school finish an existing effort to install cameras.
“This is a lot more common,” Yabrough said. “We do everything we can to monitor our school.”
Another CCCDC grant focused on a different kind of security measure; helping students protect them a less tangible threat: finance.
The Link of Cullman County, which offers supportive services for poor and vulnerable individuals, received $8,000 to put toward its Wise Up Money Skills program.
“In fall of 2012, we launched the program at Vinemont and Child Have for 9th graders,” Director Dawn Owens said. “It’s a 15-week financial advisement program.”
The Link of Cullman County will now be providing the program to six high schools and 30 classrooms in Cullman County — Cold Springs, Cullman, Fairview, Hanceville, Vinemont and West Point.
“We start off talking to students about power struggles,” Owens said. “We talk about the decisions people make to survive.”
Owens added that the program emphasized hands-on activities, like budgeting, and included students’ parents.
“We show a video about what it would be like to live on a minimum wage salary,” she said. “That’s always an eye-opener. We go over needs and wants, and the importance of financial institutions versus predatory lending.”
The CCCDC grant is part of the large community involvement in the program. People’s Bank, Cullman Savings Bank, Traditions Bank, Eva Bank and First Community Bank all help sponsor the program.
“It costs $24 per student,” Owens said. “We are thankful for the $8,000 from the CCCDC. It’s a blessing.”
Other grant recipients:
The Crane Hill Volunteer Fire Department received $8,000 for new equipment.
The Town of Fairview received $6,163.02 to resurface a local road.
The Kelly Community Center received $1,5000 to upgrade the building. The community center is a Cullman County polling place.
Vinemont High School received $1,000 to help fund additional use of NASA’s INSPIRE program.