$18K in grants awarded to 14 groups for annual Sammy Fund - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

$18K in grants awarded to 14 groups for annual Sammy Fund

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QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

Fourteen nonprofit organizations received grants totaling $18,000 Monday morning as part of the annual Samantha Otte Youth Opportunity Fund.

Students at Washington Elementary School friends and family of Samantha Otte along with the Community Foundation of the Quincy Area awarded the grants Monday morning.

The grants have been awarded each year to honor the memory of Samantha Otte, who died in March 2000 at age 10 after a liver transplant necessitated by cystic fibrosis. Since the grant program began, nearly $215,000 has been awarded to local organizations.

One of those organizations was the YWCA, who say this grant is crucial to the A Girl Like Me" program.

"Our focus is to get girls from different races, different cultures together help them pick out a career and help them learn what they need to achieve that career. And that means staying in school, staying out of the juvenile justice system. And it means getting along with everybody in the community, regardless or race, color, religion. This grant makes that possible," said YWCA Executive Director Mary Muehlenfeld.

The Samantha Otte Youth Opportunity Fund is supported by monies raised during the annual Sammy Fund weekend. The event is organized by the Sammy Fund, a group of volunteers that raise money to support youth activities in Sammy's memory.

"The Sammy Event and its continued success would not be possible without the generous donations of time and resources from a core group of dedicated volunteers and many local businesses," said Chuck Otte, Sam's dad. "Hundreds more people support the Sammy Event by participating in the run/walk, golf tournament, gift sale and other activities held in October each year."

The major sponsors of the 2012 Sammy Fund weekend were County Market, Refreshment Services Pepsi, Quincy Herald-Whig and WGEM.

Grants are being awarded to the following organizations:

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of West Central Illinois To support one-on-one mentoring relationships for at-risk children in Adams County
  • Cornerstone: Foundations for Families Support for the school-based Comprehensive Youth Services program that provides counseling and casework services to youth who have social, emotional and behavioral problems
  • Douglass Community Services Kids in Motion To support additional students to participate in the Kids in Motion summer pre-employment and service learning training program
  • Girl Scouts of Central Illinois To expand program opportunities for girls, including membership assistance, aMAZE program, establishing a troop at Washington School and campership assistance for a week-long summer camp opportunity
  • Good News of Christmas To assist Good News of Christmas in providing gifts to needy families at Christmas
  • Hungry for Music To connect low-income music students with instruments, to repair donated instruments, and to purchase additional instruments
  • Jackson-Lincoln Swimming Complex, Inc. To help fund a scholarship program for children and families who cannot afford pool fees
  • John Wood Community College Foundation To fund tuition waivers for income-eligible children to attend the John Wood Community College Children's College
  • Midsummer Arts Faire Support for special art class at the Midsummer Arts Faire for child care and day camp organizations
  • Quincy Art Center Funding for the smArt Kids Art Mentoring Program, which provides art instruction for students at Adams County schools
  • Quincy Community Theatre To support 'On the Road' theatre bus tour for students at Berrian, Washington, and Dewey Schools
  • Quincy Family YMCA To support the cost of swim lessons for Head Start students
  • Quincy Symphony Orchestra Association Tuition waivers for low-income young singers and instrumentalists to participate in the Quincy Area Youth Chorus or Quincy Area Youth Orchestra
  • YWCA of Quincy "A Girl Like Me," an after school program for at-risk, disadvantaged girls transitioning from elementary schools to Baldwin School
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