Friends of Moffat County Education: Funding learning opportunities | CraigDailyPress.com

Friends of Moffat County Education: Funding learning opportunities

Noelle Leavitt Riley

The Friends of Moffat County Education Board meets once a month to discuss business and also to hear from those who seek funding.

Friends of Moffat County Education has an extremely important role in Craig's educational community.

It's a nonprofit that obtains funds through grants, business donations and Moffat County United Way and turns around and puts that money back into the community's hands.

Basically, teachers, principals or anyone in Moffat County can go before the FMCE board and ask for financial assistance. The board listens to requests and decides how much money it wants to allocate to people and organizations in the community.

At its April 13 monthly board meeting, a total of $3,900 was allocated to those who asked for financial assistance.

Most of the financial support provided goes to teachers needing new books or educational tools. But the funding goes beyond just the classroom. In October of 2013, FMCE brought a Sky Dome Planetarium to Craig, giving children an opportunity to learn about the stars and planets.

"We try to fund ideas and programs that show kids a different perspective on the world," said FMCE President Chris Jones. "We purchased lab equipment for the science program. If someone uses the lab and want to become a scientist."

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Jones feels that FMCE provides excellent opportunities for students to learn from new purchases that the organization funds.

FMCE was formed in 2012, and that year it gave roughly $50,000 back to the community, Jones said.

"We're excited about that," Jones said. "We'd like to do more, but it's hard. We want the teachers and the educators to tell us what they want."

In addition to educational support, the organization also hosts two annual races — the Leaf Cruncher and Wake the Whittler 5K that commences the morning of Whittle the Wood Rendezvous, which is one of Craig's biggest annual festivals.

The nine-member volunteer board is looking for other fundraising ideas, and board member Mardi Anson suggested creating a race at the Moffat County Fair in August.

Each race raises funds through registration also promotes healthy exercise. Another positive aspect of FMCE is that it has no overhead costs, Jones said.

Its mission is clear and concise: Funding initiatives to enhance the educational environment and experience in Moffat County.

"I think it gives teachers a way to fund their ideas and be creative," said board member Luke Tucker. "We have the freedom to be autonomous. We can think outside the box."

Board member Aida Crookston said she enjoys serving on the board because "it's all about the kids." Anson seconded her sentiment.

"I joined because I thought there was a need, and we all represent a different school, so it's all covered evenly and no one is left out," Anson said.

Melany Neton is the only teacher on the board, giving her a good understanding of what the district needs in terms of funding.

"I'm just honored to be a teacher and represent on this board," Neaton said.

FMCE has a quote from Nelson Mandela that it uses: "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Reach Noelle Leavitt Riley at 970-875-1790 or nriley@craigdailypress.com. Follow her on Twitter @noelleleavitt.

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