Early learning group gets PacificCorp grant

Wallowa County Librarian and Training Wheels partner Claudia Jones accepts a $3,000 donation from PacifiCorp Regional Community Manager Bill Clemens for the Training Wheels program. Submitted photo

The Training Wheels Partners Program is the recipient of a $3,000 grant from the PacifiCorp Foundation for Learning in support of early childhood literacy programming. Grant funds will assist with outreach programs at day care centers, preschools, public libraries, and kindergartens.

"We are excited to partner with PacifiCorp Foundation for Learning," said Training Wheels Program directors Susan Polumsky and Claudia Jones. "Their support will help us provide a variety of early learning programs and activities for children that set the stage for lifelong learning skills."

The Training Wheels Partners Program is a collaborative effort between Wallowa County Librarian Claudia Jones, and Wallowa County Child Care Support Project Director Susan Polumsky.

The partners, working together since 1995, have developed a direct service program that supports early literacy and quality child care through outreach programs, child care providers' training and professional development materials, annual distributions of free children's books, and resource materials for families.

Ongoing programs include weekly Lap Reads at three city libraries, story hours at family day care centers and preschool sites, music, and preschool science activities. In addition to rotating collections of picture books and educational toys, caregivers have access to theme-based Readiness to Learn kits supporting early learning and school success. Approximately 800 educational newsletters for caregivers and families are currently distributed in Wallowa, Union and Umatilla counties each month.

Community partnerships have been crucial in providing additional services. This summer Training Wheels partnered with the Enterprise Police Department offering photo ID cards for children. A current effort with the Training and Employment Consortium has resulted in free baby-sitting classes for children ages 9-14. More than 300 free children's books, purchased by the Wallowa County Commission on Children and Families, have been given to children participating in Training Wheels fall programming.

The Training Wheels program is dependent upon grants, community donations, matching in-kind funds and volunteerism. Additional financial support for this year's programming is being provided by Autzen and PGE Foundations, the Oregon State Library, the Training and Employment Consortium, Wallowa County, and the Wallowa County Commission on Children and Families.

The PacifiCorp Foundation for Learning is affiliated with PacifiCorp, one of the west's leading energy companies servicing 1.5 million customers in Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and California. The Foundation makes grants in areas served by Pacific Power and Utah Power. The PacifiCorp Foundation for Learning operates an endowed fund that focuses grant making for learning-oriented projects that enhance the capacity of individuals, organizations and communities to achieve their best aspirations. The Foundation can be reached through the Internet at www.pacificorpfoundation.org.

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