Grants at Work

Keep Vincennes Rolling

Keep Vincennes Rolling is a non-profit organization developed to educate Knox County children about bike safety as well as making Vincennes a greener city with employees riding their bikes to work. Keep Vincennes Rolling started in September 2012 and has already made great strides to allow community members young and old to be safer biking around town. Knox County Community Foundation granted over 3,000 dollars to Keep Vincennes Rolling which allowed the organization to buy 300 children’s bicycle helmets to be given out at various events like Kids Equipped to Achieve, the YMCA Kid’s triathlon, and the Watermelon Festival. Also, ten “share the road” signs were purchased to be placed throughout the county. Every year, Keep Vincennes Rolling has a biking event that encourages local individuals and families to promote bicycle safety and healthy living while the Bike Patrol officers from Vincennes ride alongside the riders to get community members familiar with them. The biking event also brings a lot of out-of-town visitors that enriches the Vincennes economy through hotel rooms and restaurants. Amber Gerkin believes that if you start teaching young children early about bike safety, you won’t be “trying to change a high schooler’s bad habits.” Keep Vincennes Rolling is a great way to promote better living and give a way for family members to do outdoor bonding activities together. To become involved, contact Amber Gerkin at 812-890-4502.

Vigo Elementary Outdoor Classroom

The Outdoor Classroom at Vigo Elementary is a smart way to teach kids who have different types of learning styles about science and other subjects. Many of the children who attend Vigo live in town and do not have any access to planting a garden, so the garden teaches them about plants, insects, and the responsibility of caring for something living. The Knox County Community Foundation was able to fund the purchasing of different plants that produce vegetables that the students may not be able to try any other time. All of the students at Vigo Elementary have had a hand in helping in the garden between playing in it at recess or planting and watering the plants. The grant from the Knox County Community Foundation jump-started other community member and organizations to donate money in some form. A pollinator garden was recently put in that protect the biodiversity of local pollinators that gives students a chance to see butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds and the outdoor pavilion where the students will sit at picnic tables to learn next to the garden will be able to be used in August 2014. Christe Jarvis, Vigo Elementary’s social worker, says, “In addition to the children being excited about the garden, parents and other community members have been interested in learning more about the project.” The whole community worked together to donate 400 pounds of bottle caps, laundry detergent caps, and other lids that was melted to make a bench for the pavilion. Jarvis continues by saying, “When we check the mail, we sometimes get bottle lids sent to us from community members to help us with our goal.” Even the school board is excited about the Outdoor Classroom since the theme for the 2014-2015 school year was elected to be “Garden.” For more questions, contact Kelly McCarty, principal of Vigo Elementary, at (812) 882-5817.