By Jeff Gallatin
A key to success for a strong business is finding a solution to problems – and a North Olmsted High School service learning program has teamed up with a prominent company to help deal with funding issues.
State Farm Insurance is giving $25,025 to to North Olmsted High School for its nationally known SITES (Social Involvement Through Education and Service) program.
Vicki Gummow, SITES program coordinator, said program officials and participants are thrilled by the grant.
“We’re very appreciative of the grant from State Farm,” she said. “It will allow us to maintain many existing programs and expand some others.”
Gummow said SITES has a strong base of programs.
“Throughout the coming year, North Olmsted High School students will engage in community service projects, including a leadership camp for SITES members, a dance for local senior citizens, a Salute to Veterans program, a Day of Giving at the high school, antibullying programs presented at local schools, and outreach experiences where students volunteer at suburban, urban and rural agencies that meet community needs,” she said.
Gummow said the funds could also allow the program to expand into providing additional service learning programs in the community.
“We’re grateful to the community for the support it gives to the SITES program throughout the year,” she said.
Vera Brewer, communications and grants manager for the North Olmsted Schools, said the funds are welcome assistance in helping deal with state budget cuts.
“North Olmsted High School’s nationally recognized service-learning program SITES felt the budget cuts for education, as did many schools, and their showcase programs due to the serious funding issues in Ohio and across the country,” she said. “We are committed to the SITES program, which has won multiple state and national awards.”
Brewer said the SITES program was seeking help to help replace funds lost in the budget cuts.
“Awards are nice, but the lessons learned by the students and what they take out to their communities when they leave North Olmsted High School are even more important,” she said.
State Farm officials said the SITES program is in distinctive company by receiving the grant.
“North Olmsted High School is one of only 64 community organizations in the U.S. and Canada to receive a grant from the State Farm Youth Advisory Board this year,” State Farm Agent James Leiken said. “State Farm supports service learning because it connects classroom curriculum with hands-on community service. This way students master subject material while fostering civic responsibility.”
State Farm officials said the State Farm Youth Advisory Board has given more than $19 million in grants to service-learning programs in 340 communities since its inception in 2006.
“The State Farm Youth Advisory Board is a prime example of State Farm’s commitment to education, our community and our youth,” State Farm Spokeswoman Kim Lust said.