Education was the big winner of $46,500 in Rolling Hills Foundation grant funding, the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians announced this week. Special focus was placed on innovative programs that encouraged creativity while building skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Grant beneficiaries include STEM programs at Gerber Union Elementary District, Berrendos Middle School, and Vista Preparatory Academy. PATH, Red Bluff High School Sober Grad, the Sharks Youth Wrestling Club, Tehama SART, and the Corning Community Foundation also received grants from the Foundation.
Gerber Union Elementary School received a grant to launch a makerspace classroom designed to foster hands-on-learning in rapidly-growing technology fields such as electronics, coding, and robotics. The classroom will also provide students the opportunity to study problems and identify solutions related to the local community such as water conservation, water quality, and agricultural engineering. Existing makerspace classrooms at Berrendos Middle School and Vista Preparatory Academy received grants to purchase robotics kits, circuit boards, 3D printer supplies, instruction books, and other materials.
“Makerspace classrooms provide students access to tools and materials that allow them to learn and solve real world problems through designing, engineering, and inventing,” said Andrew “Dru” Alejandre, Tribal Chairman. “These skills are important for the long-term success of our students as most high-paying new jobs in the future will be in STEM related fields.”
“Education throughout Tehama County has always been a priority for the Tribe,” said Natasha Magana, Tribal Member at Large. “In December, we were able to secure a $14.8 million federal grant for the Corning School District. However, even though we operate Rolling Hills Casino in Corning, we believe it is important for the prosperity of the entire county to support programs in neighboring towns that prepare students for higher learning and the growing technology-focused job market. A highly educated workforce will bring jobs to our area, which will enhance economic prosperity for the region.”
Makerspace programs were not the only beneficiaries of recent Foundation grants. In keeping with the Tribe’s tradition of supporting public safety, several grants went to programs that combined safety with education. Red Bluff Sober Graduation received funds to provide an evening of fun activities, food, games and prizes for graduating high school students, allowing them to celebrate their graduation in a chaperoned and safe environment. Hamilton High received funds to host an “Every 15 Minutes” event to inform students about the consequences of drinking and driving. Tehama SART received funds to promote the V-Day production of the Vaginal Monologues, a benefit to help the organization provide education on sexual assault awareness and prevention. PATH received a grant to purchase furnishings and household items for its transitional housing program, which helps homeless individuals develop the skills they need to be self-sufficient.
The Tribe also recognized the role athletics and the arts play in education with grants to the Corning Community Foundation for the refurbishment of the Rogers Theater and the Corning Sharks Wrestling Team for sponsorships of low-income wrestlers.
“Performance arts and athletic programs help students gain skills and self-confidence that can carry into schoolwork,” said Alejandro. “We also support the refurbishment of Rogers Theater because we believe it will play a vital role in the artistic and economic development of Tehama County,” he added.
The Rolling Hills Community Development Foundation committee reviews applications for grants on a quarterly basis. Applications and more information are available on the Rolling Hills Casino website at www.rollinghillsfoundation.com.