Red Hook Education Foundation offers new initiatives, grants

The Red Hook Education Foundation believes in making a difference in Red Hook students’ lives.

Most recently, the Foundation made a grant of $5,000 to the Red Hook Central School District to assist in the appointment of a transition specialist at the high school to advance college and career planning, according to a Foundation press release.

The school district hired Red Hook resident Margaret D’Onofrio, who begins this month assisting guidance counselors with individualized and group college and career planning. This new service will increase the likelihood that Red Hook’s students are recognized for their achievements and their aspirations are realized. The funds will also be used to support events focused on college selection, the college application process, financial aid, and the financial implications of paying for colleges. Funds used for career counseling will help students explore opportunities for employment, connect them with formal training programs, and assist them in developing a transition plan for life after high school.

In January, the Foundation will launch its Student-in-Need Initiative, a $2,000 fund that will help provide support to students whose families may not have the financial resources to fully participate in their learning environment. Each building principal will be able to approve the use of funds for such things as field trips, adequate school supplies, broken eye glasses and AP exam fees.

Started in 2010, the Foundation, which operates independently from the Red Hook Central School District, has raised more than $70,000 to date and recently became a public 501(c)3 charity, which allows it to collect tax-deductible donations, and increases the opportunity for receiving grants and matching donations from public and private organizations as well as from other foundations.

The Foundation’s support of the Mill Road Garden Committee has blossomed into a full-blown effort to improve the school lunch and snack offerings at all three Red Hook schools. Since Nov. 1, the cafeterias in all three schools have had salad bars every day. Future plans include a possible cooking program for students involving local chefs and farmers, and the creation of a garden classroom at the Middle School.

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