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Local organizations support Education Center

The Community United Methodist Church and the Pagosa Springs Rotary Club continue to support the Archuleta County Education Center.

Support from such local organizations is an important part of the life line that enables the Education Center to provide educational services to our community. Other sources of support include state and local governments, grants from foundations, user fees, donations, fund-raisers and other local organizations.

The Russ Hill Bazaar of the CUMC gave $300, which will be used with matching funds to purchase a new computer for the Education Center. This fund-raiser started 49 years ago when Pagosa Springs florist and member of the CUMC, Russ Hill, started making and selling Christmas wreaths to raise money to pay the pastor’s salary.

The activity continues today as many members of the Methodist Church work for several weeks prior to Christmas making beautiful, natural wreaths and table decorations. This year, 75 percent of the net proceeds from selling these wreaths and table decorations was awarded to approximately 20 community organizations.

The CUMC also awarded the Education Center $2,395 through its “Gift of the Heart” program, which starts every year just before Christmas, when we are wondering what to give friends and family whose houses are already full of stuff. The “Gift of the Heart” program provides an alternative to simply giving more stuff. Church members and friends can donate money they may have used to buy more stuff to one of three organizations. The Education Center was one of these organizations.

These funds will be used to pay general operating expenses. This form of support is particularly important, because most foundations prefer to support specific programs, and because government grants often require matching funds.

The Education Center also received a grant of $1,000 from the Community Grant Assistance Program organized by the Pagosa Springs Rotary Club. Other organizations receiving support from the Community Grant Assistance Program include Music Boosters and Big Brothers and Big Sisters.

Rotary also provides support for Pagosa Outreach, distributes dictionaries to every third-grader in the Archuleta School District and awards scholarships for post-secondary education. Annual funding for these programs totals approximately $40,000, which the Rotary Club generates through its many fund-raisers.

The funds awarded to the Education Center will be used to support the After School Tutoring Program. The goal of this program, which is available to students in K-8, is to help students to work at grade level so they enter high school prepared for success. Current statistics show that approximately 20 percent of K-8 students are unlikely to graduate from high school with their class. Statistics also show that quality after school tutoring programs improve graduation rates. The cost to society for youth who do not graduate from high school shows that quality after school tutoring programs are a good investment.

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