PITTSBURG — Projects such as community gardens, parenting programs and educational programs for at-risk students are just a few of many projects the Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas helped fund this year.

To celebrate the community programs and projects, the foundation had their annual Grant Celebration on Tuesday at the  programs and projects on Tuesday at the Wilkinson Alumni Center.

Safehouse Crisis Center will soon be creating a community garden for their residents at their new facility to help provide fresh food and a stress relief activity. Families and Children Together will create a community garden as well.

“We are so appreciative for this,” Lynnette Downing from Families and Children Together said to the crowd. “It’s going to be a wonderful project for us.”

Miners Hall Co-Chair Jerry Lomshek said the grant has enabled the museum to better utilize the space for its exhibits, expand the research library and increased the number of school tours.

“If you don’t know what went before you then you don’t know who you are,” he said about the importance of history.

Wesley House Executive Director and Pastor Marcee Binder spoke about the “Bring Your A Game to Work,” program which is currently being taught to adults and will soon be taught to at risk Pittsburg USD 250 students. This program focuses on developing a work ethic and the soft skills employers are looking for — including professionalism, relational skills, conflict resolution and a willingness to take direction. These skills include attitude, attendance, appearance, ambition, accountability, acceptance and appreciation.

The grant Via Christi received allowed the hospital to purchase 100 different items — including coloring books, pencils, toys — for children who are in the hospital.

A new parenting program was instituted with the grant for the Women’s Resource Center and the Community Health Center was able to provide free Hepatitis C testing for Baby Boomer women.

Pittsburg Community Middle School student Joey Cronister thanked the foundation. The grant he and his peers received will be used to provide bags filled with items for the homeless community.

“We wanted to help the homeless,” he said. “We are putting stuff in bags and giving them to homeless people in the community.”

The foundation awarded $244,000 in grants to agencies to help benefit community programs and projects. Of these grants, seventy-four grants in the amount of $162,000 were given from the Community Foundation general grant funds, the Rita J. Bicknell Women’s Health Fund Giving Circles, the Future Fund Giving Circle, the Get Busy Livin’ Foundation and the Elm Acres Foundation.

— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.