New grant aims to help kids stay active during the winter

Old man winter has been flirting with citizens in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, making it difficult to stay active. It’s particularly hard for little ones to be outside when the temperature begins to drop. However, the borough’s Early Childhood Development Commission (ECDC) says there is some relief in sight for families.

The ECDC, through the Fairbanks Families Partnership, is providing scholarship funds to the Resource Center for Parents and Children (RCPC) for families throughout the community. In order to take advantage of the program your children need to be 8 years old or younger. This is the first time the scholarship funds are available.

Paige Vonder Haar, Chair of the Partnership and ECDC, says the funds are to be used to offset the costs associated with children’s activities. She said, “Scholarship funds can be used to support a child’s participation in a variety of activities such as organized sports, dance classes (or dance groups), family recreation opportunities and craft activities.” Vonder Haar says the program can also cover costs associated with transportation, equipment or parental involvement.

“The goal of the program is to increase the number of opportunities available for families to keep their young children happy, healthy and active,” according to Vonder Haar. For families that qualify for programs such as WIC, Denali Kid Care, ATAP, ASAP or food stamps, RCPC will pay for 90-percent of the total cost of the requested activity. For families that do not qualify for state or federal aid, RCPC will pay for 50-percent of the requested activity.

Vonder Haar says the scholarships will be available on a first come, first serve basis. Applications will be available on Monday, November 26. You can also find out more information about the scholarship program at www.fairbanksfamilies.com; or at the RCPC, located at 726 26th Avenue, Suite 2.

Funding for this project comes from Best Beginnings, a private/public partnership that mobilizes people and resources to ensure all Alaska children arrive at school ready to succeed. The ECDC says more projects will be announced in the future.

For more information please contact RCPC, either Meghan Maroney at 456-9030 or Jessica McKeown at 456-9002.