Grant funds allocated for students

January 16, 1994|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Staff Writer

The Columbia Council will set aside $1,000 in the Columbia Association's 1994-1995 budget to provide grants to high school students who need money for community service projects in Columbia.

"Some of these new creative ideas won't get off the ground without the seed money," said council Vice Chairwoman Fran Wishnick of Oakland Mills village, who proposed the program.

The new grants program is designed to encourage students to (( clean up streams and open-space land, assist the elderly, or take part in other efforts aimed at enhancing Columbia.

The council decided to reduce its Spear Family Community Service Scholarship program from $5,000 to $4,000 rather than increase its overall budget for educational support to sponsor the new program.

The Spear scholarships -- named in honor of Michael D. Spear, a former Rouse Co. executive who was killed in a 1990 plane crash -- are awarded to five high school seniors who have demonstrated outstanding community service efforts. The scholarships are to be applied to either a four-year or two-year college or technical school.

The council will develop criteria for applying to the new grants program and for administering it.

Councilman David Berson of River Hill noted that the grants program will require more work to oversee than the scholarship program.

Mr. Berson also suggested maintaining the $5,000 scholarship program and allocating an additional $2,500 to the new grants program, assuming both programs were deemed worthwhile. But the council voted 6 to 4 Thursday night to divide the existing $5,000 allocation between the programs.

Brenda Allen, who oversees the Student Service Program for Howard County schools, said the council's grant program will mesh well with the new state education policy requiring students to meet a standard for community service before graduating.

While many Howard students satisfy the requirement in middle school, they are encouraged to continue their involvement in community service voluntarily through high school and into adulthood, she said.

Councilwoman Evelyn A. Richardson of Dorsey's Search village, who helped establish the 3-year-old Spear scholarship program, said the council has come a long way in supporting students.

The first award the council offered for community service was a wooden plaque, she said.

Eventually, council members "decided we could and should afford more for students who do work for the community," Ms. Richardson said.

The council acts as the board of directors for the association, which manages the unincorporated community's recreational facilities, civic programs and open-space areas.

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