Tag Archives: Mary Lyon Foundation

Holiday Briefs: Community Clothes Closet takes donations at Cowell site 24/7

Trinity Church’s Community Clothes Closet, next door to the West County Food Pantry in the lower level of Cowell Gymnasium, on 51 Maple St., is open on Wednesdays with the food pantry: noon to 6 p.m.

All are welcome to visit and take free apparel.

Organizers ask that donors use the clothing drop-off shed, available 24/7 in the Cowell parking lot, and that they place clean clothing in good condition in plastic bags before dropping off their goods.


Third ‘Early Night’ Dec. 31
from 6-8 p.m. at Cowell Gym

Spend your New Year’s Eve with family, friends, and neighbors at the annual party at Cowell Gym.

Early Night, running from 6 to 8 p.m., features hundreds of balloons to play with on the floor; tables filled with games, crafts, and activities; and music and dancing for all ages.

Naturally, there’ll also be a New Year’s Eve countdown featuring a silver basketball drop.

Cowell Gym is at 51 Maple St. The Cowell is hosting the event in partnership with the Shelburne Recreation Committee.

The event is free. Donations to the gym’s Operating Fund are welcome, and a donation box will be available.

For more information, call Doug Martin at 625-3054 or visit Shelburne Recreation on Facebook.


20 Christmas trees donated

The Mary Lyon Foundation is proud to acknowledge a tree grower, who wishes to remain anonymous, made 20 families very happy with a delivery of free Christmas trees well in time for the holiday.

The Mary Lyon Foundation supports all aspects of quality education in the towns of Ashfield, Buckland, Charlemont, Colrain, Hawley, Heath, Plainfield, Rowe, and Shelburne.

Putting spring in their step

cropped-mary-lyons-hill-with-text-cropped2Mary Lyon Foundation plants seeds

AN ART TEACHER gets money for clay. A second-grade teacher gets funding for math centers. A special education instructor gets the help she requested toward tools that help students strengthen their comprehension through visualization.

This just scratches the surface at BSE, where six educators have received spring 2015 mini-grants from the Mary Lyon Foundation, the community-based 501(c)3 non-profit that supports all aspects of quality education in Ashfield, Buckland, Charlemont, Colrain, Hawley, Heath, Plainfield, Rowe, and Shelburne.

A list of all-school awards (26, ranging from $57 to $335) is heartening: solar educational training kits at Mohawk; a parade float for Charlemont’s 250th anniversary; a yearbook project at Colrain.

What emerges as a theme, though, is spring.

At Colrain, Kate Kelly’s request for help for a shade garden came through. Carole Fisher at Sanderson now has seeds for a third-grade garden. Travis Minnick’s class at Mohawk has money for a bumblebee watch (and Jim Markham is going to be able to demonstrate solar construction in the classroom).

At Hawlemont, Jean Bruffee’s kids will see what grows in a new incubation system. Claudine Poplawski and Laurie Pike at Rowe have funds for a pollinator garden.

And one of the requests approved by the foundation for Heath’s Virginia Gary is an allotment for revitalizing and protecting the school garden.


For more information on mini-grants, scholarships, student assistance, and giving, visit marylyonfoundation.org.

Heading into Thanksgiving, what are you thankful for?

WE CAUGHT UP with friends and neighbors around the village to ask a most timely question: Heading into Thanksgiving, what are you thankful for? We love the replies!

Our thanks to Pamela Snow, Ursula Snow, Lori Grant, Nick Brown, Christopher Lenaerts, Janet Eaton, Stacy Kontrabecki (and Eóghan Withington), and Elaine Parmett.

Mary Lyon grants: from hammers to zoos

Myah Grant logoBUCKLAND—If you need drumsticks for your classroom, or a new reading desk, or you want to study birds and butterflies, or you want a whole zoo to visit the school, you should ask the Mary Lyon Foundation to help pay for it.

The Mary Lyon Foundation helps school staff and homeschool educators from Ashfield, Buckland, Charlemont, Colrain, Hawley, Heath, Plainfield, Rowe, and Shelburne.

The Foundation’s committee meets twice a year to review applications for grants, and these fund projects and supplies.

Dr. Sue Samoriski is the Foundation’s executive director. She told me that anyone who works in the school — a teacher, a custodian, a superintendent, a paraprofessional — anyone employed in a school can write a mini-grant.

“We’ve just given out $3,000 worth of mini grants,” she said.
This year the Colrain School had the most mini-grants written, “and therefore many of them were funded,” she said.

Sue Samoriski
Susan Samoriski, co-executive director of the Mary Lyon Foundation

The Foundation gets its money through grants and donations. The 9th Annual Mary Lyon Foundation Community Spelling Bee just raised a lot of money that will go to the schools.

I asked her how she gets the money to the schools.

“In many different ways: The Colrain Central School has an account called The Colrain Vision of Excellence. When they want money for a project, or something like an assembly program for the whole school — something special — we have a committee composed of Colrain people, and I say, ‘Well, you’ve got a few thousand dollars; you decide and tell me how to write the check and tell me who it goes to.’”

She said Heath has Heath Horizons, “and that’s similar. Mohawk has an agricultural fund, which is funded by a bank every year. Hawlemont has an agricultural fund; it depends on the school.”

People donate to the Mary Lyon Foundation and even leave it money in their wills.

At BSE the bathrooms have been repainted. New sleds were added. A classroom has a new round reading desk. One year the Foundation paid for carpentry tools for the custodians.

Samoriski said the committee gives BSE a little more money every year because it has an office at the building and doesn’t pay rent.

“I say to the principal every year, ‘What would you like? Tell me what you’d like for the school.’”


— With Kara Bohonowicz