Operation Round Up starts new year with grant distributions and officer elections

Carroll White REMC’s Operation Round Up board hit the ground running at its first quarterly meeting of 2022. Not only were new board officers elected, grants totaling $10,875 were awarded to eight non-profit organizations in our service territory.

Kristin Miller was elected 2022 Operation Round Up chair. Other officers elected were Kathy Leman, vice chair; Kathy Zink, secretary; and Paula Westfall, treasurer. 

The largest grant this cycle — $5,000 — goes to the Friends of the Panhandle Parkway, Inc., which develops, manages and maintains the Panhandle Pathway, the former rail corridor between Winamac and Kenneth, Indiana. 

The 22-mile rail-trail corridor runs through Pulaski and Cass counties. Following the historic rail path of the Pennsylvania Railroad Line through farmland, shaded wooded areas, the beginning of the Wabash Valley and across the Tippecanoe River, the Panhandle Pathway provides memorable views of farmland and a dedicated prairie preserve. It is ideal for walking, hiking, running, biking and skating and serves as an outdoor learning opportunity for area schools.

Friends of the Panhandle Parkway, Inc., is in the process of securing a $3 million Next Level Trails grant through the state. The grant would extend the Panhandle Pathway north in Pulaski County toward the Tippecanoe River State Park and south in Cass County to France Park. 

“To do this, we need to provide matching funds and show local support for this project,” said grant writer John Bawcum. Approximately $590,000 has been pledged in match funding so far. “Our goal is to secure additional pledges and donations of approximately $160,000,” Bawcum said. “The larger the match, the better are our chances are of securing the NLT state grant.” 

Bawcum notes the project will not only benefit residents of Pulaski, Cass and surrounding counties, but those from throughout the state and Midwest region. Longdistance bicyclists from other parts of the country would also enjoy the pathway. “Currently, we are only one mile from connecting with the Wabash River Greenway project and seven miles from connecting the North Judson Erie Trail, a part of the American Discover Trail and the Great American Rail-Trail,” Bawcum said. These trails connect and run through Indiana east to west. 

Other grants distributed in the first quarter included:

Twin Lakes Robotics:  The Twin Lakes Robotics team is set to attend its first competition of the season and its $2,000 grant will help defray costs. The competition, in Columbus, Indiana, requires a two-night stay for 25 students and six adult mentors. “Attending a competition,” grant writer Patrick Yoder said, “provides students with an opportunity to experience a competitive environment outside the classroom. 

“This builds camaraderie as a team, as they learn through cooperative competition and real-time problem solving,” Yoder continued. “Students use this opportunity to network and bring learned skills back to their classroom and community, spreading knowledge through ongoing outreach.” Twin Lakes Robotics encourages technologically savvy, but sometimes shy, students to work on their presentation and communication skills. “An onsite presentation is an excellent way to hone and refine those skills,” Yoder said. 

Star City Lions Club: Thanks to a $1,000 grant, the Star City Lions Club will be able to help replace the roof on the Community Building at Star City Park. “The Star City Lions Club has committed funds to the project as has the Van Buren Township trustee,” wrote grant writer Kathleen Thompson. The building is used, on an average, once a week. Several groups have regular meetings in the building, including two 4-H clubs.

Junior Achievement Serving Carroll County: A $1,000 grant was awarded to Junior Achievement, Carroll County to assist in funding the Spring Elementary School curriculum at Carroll and Delphi Elementary schools. “The Junior Achievement Our Community program will be taught to second grade students,” wrote Bo Kuzee-Baumis, grant writer. “Students learn how citizens benefit from and contribute to a community’s success. Various jobs and their required skills are identified to demonstrate how the work people do positively affects a community’s economy.”

Junior Achievement Serving White County: A $1,000 grant was awarded to Junior Achievement Serving White County to help support the spring elementary school curriculum at Frontier, North White, Eastlawn, Meadowlawn and Oaklawn Elementary schools. “Through a series of five volunteer-led sessions,” wrote grant writer Bo Kuzee-Baumis, “students will learn how to become better members of the community while participating in hands-on activities.” 

Monon Town and Township Public Library: The Monon Town and Township Public Library will use its $500 grant to help start a new and innovative type of community library. “This would be a collection of items that people may occasionally need to use, but don’t own themselves,” wrote grant writer Austin Stroud, library director. “Items such as hedge trimmers, rakes, lawnmowers, flower seeds, vegetable seeds, a tool set, or leaf blowers will be included.

“The library has been working on ways to adapt, grow and better meet the needs of the community,” Stroud said. The library also plans to include board games, flash drives, travel and hiking backpacks, to name a few of the suggested items in this new endeavor.

West Central After Prom: With its $200 grant, “the After Prom Committee will provide a safe, controlled and fun event for students who attend the West Central Prom,” wrote grant writer Sara Kroft.

Carroll County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD): “SWCD sponsors Earth Day in Carroll County for 2nd grade students and Arbor Day activities for preschoolers,” grant writer Rhonda R. Hicks said. With its $175 grant, the SWCD will be able to distribute oak trees for these celebration days.

For more information about Operation Round Up, visit www.cwremc.coop. Grant applications are also available online.