OLEAN, N.Y. — Six organizations that support local children and youth recently received grants from the Kaleigh Wilday Endowment Fund at the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation.
The grants, totaling $5,500, were made on November 10 to remember Kaleigh Wilday on her birthday, said CRCF Executive Director Karen Niemic Buchheit. Skip and Greta Wilday established the fund in September of 2002 in memory of their daughter, Kaleigh.
One organization receiving a Kaleigh Wilday grant this year is the Cuba Circulating Library, which will be able to continue special children’s programming thanks to the $1,000 donation, according to Tina Dalton, Cuba Circulating Library youth service librarian.
This past year the library brought in three special speakers for children’s programming with the support of grants from Wilday fund.
“In April Bwana Jim brought several different animals for the children to see and handle. We had a fantastic turn out for this program, with over 100 in attendance,” Dalton said.
“We also use the funds to purchase supplies for a variety of programs,” said Dalton. “One such program was our Artist Club in January, where kids ages 8-12 had the opportunity to make stop motion films. We used Wilday funds to purchase high quality clay and sculpting tools, and the kids then sculpted figures for their films.”
The library also hosted a screening of the films and shared the kids’ work on YouTube and Facebook, she said.
The library also used grant money to purchase supplies for a weekly “Make It @ the Library” craft day where children made STEM-themed crafts that she said “had them thinking about science and engineering.”
“Without the Wilday grants, we certainly would have to cut back on the children's programs we offer. Starting in October, we added a new ‘Tween’ series to our programming. This club meets every Thursday afternoon and will be teaching skills such as computer coding, cooking, and art,” said Dalton.
“Without Wilday funding our summer reading program would be much smaller, in regards to the entertainers we could hire, as well as the prizes and incentives we could offer children who participate,” she added.
Other organizations that received grants from the Wilday fund this year include: Cuba-Rushford PTA ($1,000), Dresser-Rand Challenger Learning Center ($1,000), Cuba-Rushford Field Trip Fund ($1,000 for CRCS Outdoors field trip), YMCA of the Twin Tiers ($1,000) and Cuba Lake Young Sailors Fund ($500 in memory of John Bradley).
The fund also gives two annual scholarships to local students, one to a student attending Jamestown Community College in Olean and one to a graduating Cuba-Rushford Central School scholar athlete.
Donations can be made to the Kaleigh Wilday Endowment Fund at CRCF, 301 North Union St., Suite 203, or online at www.cattfoundation.org.