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Legacy of Bloomfield’s Stark sisters, lives in giving

The 2017 Stark Family Fund grants were presented at the Picton Public Library branch Thursday.

The Stark Family Fund celebrated a milestone Thursday while awarding $55,289 in grants to community organizations.

The fund, established in 2003 with a bequest of more than $1.3 million from the Stark sisters, of Bloomfield, has presented $775,000 to numerous community organizations over the years.

Ruth, Leata, Keitha, Sylvia and Ival Stark were lifelong residents of the village and their wish, communicated to friends Tim and Linda Beatty, was that the funds be used to support community effort, particularly in the educational, health and cultural fields.

“They were wonderful ladies who were very quiet about what they did, and very humble,” so it’s great to see their legacy of giving continues to go back into the community to do good,” said Linda Beatty, during the ceremony, held this year in the Picton Branch Library.

“It’s appropriate to be at the library because several of the sisters were school teachers so books and education were important,” she said, recalling the sisters would bestow gifts of books upon the Beatty’s sons at every birthday, or occasion.

Tim Beatty said that leading the local committee to choose annual recipients of the the Stark Family Fund as been a joy for the whole family.

“I think it’s one of the greatest gifts a family could ever receive to be able to help out, following the sisters’ wishes, to give back to the community,” he said. “They worked very hard and always liked to see underdogs being helped out.”

The Stark Family Fund was created at the Community Foundation for Kingston & Area and goes toward supporting a broad spectrum of community activities and charitable causes in the fields of education, health, social services, animal welfare and culture.

“Today’s grants bring the total granted to date from the Stark Family fund to over $775,000: showing the power of the endowment fund model, as their fund will continue to grant and support county charities forever: a wonderful and lasting legacy for them,” said Tina Bailey, executive director of the foundation.

Projects funded include:

Trenton Memorial Hospital, Be Clear on Cancer, $10,000
The Stark Family Fund grant assists in the fight to prevent bladder cancer by supplying a video cystoscope used by an urologist to examine the bladder. With the opening of the regional cystoscopy clinic at TMH in 2015, about 35 patients are treated daily and constant usage and sterilization of the delicate cytoscopes reduces their life span. Some patients may require two scopes per treatment, translating into approximately 5,000 uses per year.

Easter Seals Ontario, Send A Kid to Camp, $2,500
Children with disabilities who find themselves in social isolation and with limited social and physical outlets will be attending a special camp focused on establishing their independence, exploring physical abilities and developing and nurturing friendships. Most mainstream camps are not built or staffed to accommodate children with special needs, making them off limits.

Rotary Club of Picton, scholarships and bursaries, $5,750
Five $1,000 awards to each of five student graduates of PECI who have accepted undergraduate enrollment away from Prince Edward County, and three $250 bursaries to graduates who will attend Loyalist College.

County of Prince Edward Public Library, Maker Space Cinematics, $1,796
The Stark Family Fund grant will be used to enhance Maker Space STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) programming for area youth through the purchase of new equipment and software. The libraries be offering more of the popular Maker Club camps and school workshops. Camps and workshops currently focus on theatre, film and stop motion movies. With the addition of new equipment the program will also include YouTube vlogging, digital photography and more.

Children’s Mental Health Services of Hastings and Prince Edward County, Acquisition of OTF system for Picton Office, $10,000
The purchase of an Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) system for the Picton office will allow real-time, secure, audio-visual tele-conferencing for the purpose of psychiatric and psychological assessment for children and youth in Prince Edward County. There are no available child psychiatrists in Prince Edward or Hastings County. The grant will add to the estimated one-third of the cost raised via the Wellington Classic Golf Tournament to be held this July. This permits the purchase of the system in the second half of 2017.

Prince Edward Learning Centre, Cooking Counts!, $3,000
Cooking Counts! will provide cooking lessons (with an embedded math/literacy curriculum) to 30 learners ages 18+ with low literacy skills. Lessons will be organized into three “themed” blocks of six lessons each (10 learners each six-week session). Each session will focus on a different demographic (young single people, families and families with babies/toddlers). Participants will learn about healthy eating and preparing meals on a budget.The grant will provide for an instructor to prepare and deliver each lesson and advertising and evaluation.

Food to Share, Food to Share Education, $3,000
Food to Share’s focus has been to provide nutritional meals, made with fresh ingredients, to food bank recipients in the County. An educational component was investigated in 2016 and will be initiated shortly as a limited test. The objective is for food bank recipients to take the first step toward becoming more self-sufficient in making their own nutritious meals. If the test proves successful, the funding will be used to expand the test over a longer period of time and to additional recipients.

The Prince Edward Fitness and Aquatic Centre, Low Impact Rehabilitation, $4,243.14
Hydrobikes are a new product on the market. These bikes provide users a fun, invigorating and effective workout for physical therapy or aquatic spin classes. These bikes sit in the water which allows the user to have less weight on their lower joints. They are fully accessible which allows any user to try them out..

Recreation Outreach Centre, Youth Entrepreneurship Success (YES) program, $9,000
The YES program will engage and empower youth ages 12-18 in Prince Edward County through nine months of after-school & summer entrepreneurship programming at the PEC Youth Centre. Youth will have an opportunity to develop job skills, connect with mentors from the local business community and become inspired by entrepreneurship in PEC. With workshops led by successful entrepreneurs and visits to local businesses where youth can speak directly with leaders from different sectors, the YES program assists youth in developing self-confidence and entrepreneur skills. There are no fees to participate. The grant will support program equipment, transportation and workshop supplies.

Quinte Children’s Foundation, expansion of Playing For Keeps & Reach for Success, $6,000
The Children’s Foundation is looking to continue with the expansion of Playing for Keeps & reach for Success programs in Prince Edward County. Partnering with multiple community organizations helps more children make connections with local sports organizations. With the grant donation, the foundation will help motivate more children in care to continue their education with post-secondary and give them the opportunity to receive a bursary.

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