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Students pop up Awesome winning idea

Lenny Epstein with grant winners Ashley McInnis, Lori Farrington and Taylor Lott

Lenny Epstein with grant winners Ashley McInnis, Lori Farrington and Taylor Lott

Prince Edward Learning Centre instructor Lori Farrington and two students “popped the question” to Awesome PEC and were awarded a $1,000 grant.

 Ashley McInnis, Lori Farrington and Taylor Lott "pop" up a selfie after the Awesome PEC win.

Ashley McInnis, Lori Farrington and Taylor Lott “pop” up a selfie after the Awesome PEC win.

The Awesome Foundation of Prince Edward County (Awesome PEC) awarded its fourth grant at a pitch party last week at the Drake Devonshire Inn in Wellington.

“PELC Pops! may look like just a mobile popcorn stand, but it is actually a small-scale, portable and self-sustaining training site,” said Lenny Epstein, of Awesome PEC. “PELC Pops! is a place where students receive significant mentoring, job coaching, and support in order to learn the skills necessary to attend school and find meaningful employment.”

The compelling pitch was made by Farrington, and two PELC students, Ashley McInnis and Taylor Lott, who talked about the impact of the Learning Centre on their lives.

With the Awesome PEC grant, PELC will purchase a commercial popcorn machine, vintage style uniforms, and packaging supplies. Students will develop a PELC Pops! logo, solve business problems as literacy exercises, and gain exposure to the great events and festivals across the county by selling popcorn at events such as the fall fairs, Taste Community Grown, Pumpkinfest, and the Firelight Lantern Festival.

This social enterprise will promote adult education opportunities and re-invest all profits back into adult learning. PELC has secured community partners to help provide a gourmet popcorn experience.  Sunnydale Farms in Waupoos grows pesticide free, non-GMO popping corn and will be their supplier.  Vicki’s Veggies in Black Creek is an organic farm, producing a multitude of products; working with PELC they’ve begun creating a Vicki’s Veggies Popcorn Seasoning.

“It’s awesome that PELC’s students are going to connect to local festivals and events, while running a social enterprise,” said Farrington. “The experience and confidence they will gain is invaluable.”

Previous recipients of the grant are Craig Morrison, whose project DISLOYAL was a two-day skateboard-making workshop for teens; Louise McFaul’s Fairy Doors project, and Glen Wallis’ Food to Share, providing home-cooked meals for local food banks.

The Awesome Foundation for the Arts and Sciences is an ever-growing, worldwide network of people devoted to forwarding the interest of… awesomeness. The idea started in 2009 in Boston, and now dozens of local chapters of the Foundation distribute $1,000 grants to projects and their creators. The money is pooled together from the coffers of 10 or so self-organizing “micro-trustees” and awarded with no strings attached.

The next deadline to apply for a grant from Awesome PEC is August 1, 2015. Grants can be used for any type of project that benefits the County. Projects should be able to be completely accomplished for the $1,000 awarded. To find out more about Awesome PEC, visit www.awesomepec.com.

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