At the end of the fall 2017 semester, 13 Lock Haven University recreation management students, enrolled in the finance and acquisition of recreation resources class, presented grant writing projects that they had been working on all semester. Some of those projects possessing the potential to become funded and possibly have the students see their ideas and hard work become a reality.
The students were put into pairs, with one group of three, and assigned to a local agency. They met with agency representatives to determine the potential projects they could pursue to seek funding for. Students then were to come up with three potential funding sources, budges, agency description, and the grant they ultimately selected.
LHU students and their projects included:
- Teddy Mykulyn and Jason Surkin – Bald Eagle Boys Camp
- Jessica Burd and Maddison Sechrist – Be Wise campaign
- Sara Galbraith and Blake Walker – Clinton County SPCA
- Jared Brandt and Troy Baney – Clinton County Historical Society
- Travis Giedroc and Allison Spielman – Sentimental Journey Inc.
- Danny Hackmeister, Karah Kaltenbaugh, and Samantha Khoury – Woodward Township Recreation
The students, dressed in business attire, gave formal Power Point presentations during their regular class time, explaining the details of their grant proposals.
Through their projects, the students not only learned how challenging the process of grant writing can be, but were given the opportunity to go through the entire process – working directly with local agencies in need, and writing an application for a grant that may potentially be accepted for funding.
“A great deal of critical thinking is needed to complete grant applications,” LHU student, Troy Baney said. “Developing how projects align with the goals of funders requires careful analysis and a firm understanding of both organizations. I believe the entire project was a very valuable experience. Both the students and the community organizations benefited from the hard work that went into this project.”
Most of the groups also received help from Cindy Love, systems grant administrator for Penn Highlands Healthcare System. Love also is the owner, grant writer, and non-profit consultant for CAL Funding Initiatives LLC. Love met with the student teams individually and introduced them to representatives from their agencies. She also provided continued support to the students throughout the course of the grant writing process, whenever needed.
“I enjoy the entire spectrum of working with the students as I see their exuberance about their future possibilities, their ideas and their goals on where they are going in life, and also their wanting to help others, such as the nonprofits they work with throughout the semester,” Love said. “My goal is to see at least one of the grant proposals that are written actually submitted and awarded.”
According to Dr. Phileshia Dombroski, LHU recreation management instructor, the community grant writing partnership provided the students with the opportunity not only to make an impact in the Lock Haven community, but also to build their confidence with seeking out and talking to funders and foundation representatives.
“Incorporating the importance of community is fundamental in the recreation management major and this grant writing project adds a depth to what we, as faculty, have been striving to instill in our students – their potential to make a positive impact on people’s quality of life,” Dombroski said.
The projects not only were a class requirement, resulting in a grade for each student, but they also provided them with valuable experiences and knowledge they can take with them in their future careers.
“I hope that one day I work with or for a non-profit organization and have the opportunity to assist with writing a grant or a grant application,” LHU student, Jessica Burd said.
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Lock Haven University is a member of Pennsylvania’s State System, the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth. Its 14 universities offer more than 2,300 degree and certificate programs in more than 530 academic areas of study. Nearly 520,000 system alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.
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