Engaging students and families in cultural and wellness activities

Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation annual grants support youth theater, family movies and student wellness.

The Edge of the Wilderness Community Center, Murphy Elementary School and Northern Community Radio were awarded funding through Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation Annual Grants Cycle. “We are happy to support these organizations that are committed to enhancing art, recreation, and family activities in our communities,” says Sarah Copeland, Director of Grants and Programs at the Community Foundation.

Edge of the Wilderness Community Center brings music and theater to elementary students The Edge of the Wilderness Community Center is bringing Music-Theater Residency for Bigfork School students in grades 3-6. This collaboration between professional theater artists from Stages Children’s Theatre Company and The Edge Center will enrich the Bigfork Elementary School music program by engaging the students in preparing songs, learning simple choreography, and building theater ensemble skills. Students will perform on the Edge stage for parents and community members. The material used will be based on themes and curricular areas selected by teachers and teaching artists.

“This collaboration enhances the Bigfork school elementary music program and provides students with the opportunity to explore singing, dancing, ensemble work, and gives them an outlet for creative expression,” says Patty Feld, Artistic Director, Edge Center for the Arts. “Other benefits include increased confidence, team-building, and seeing how professionals work.” Patty is looking for additional funds for the Music Theater Residency program. If you or someone you know would like to support this program, contact Patty at The Edge Center (218-743-6670).

The Edge of the Wilderness Community Center was formed in the Bigfork area in 1992 to collaborate with the School District to provide enhancements to the Bigfork School that would also serve the local community. The mission of the Edge Center is to enhance education, recreation, and the fine arts in the Edge of the Wilderness area.

The Edge Center has an endowment fund, managed by the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation (www.gracf.org). Donations to the endowment are invested and a portion of the earnings is used annually for programs or operating needs at the Center. Current donations to the endowment are welcome directly through the Edge Center or through the Community Foundation. You can donate through your credit card at gracf.org.

The Warren Youngdahl Fund is providing funding.

Northern Community Radio to host family “Movies under the Stars” events KAXE and the Grand Rapids Area Library are teaming up to host a monthly movie in the Rotary tent at the KAXE studios the third Tuesday during the months of June, July and August 2018. Movies will be family friendly and because they are under the tent, the sunshade makes it possible to start earlier (before sunset), making it accessible to families with young children.

The purpose of "Movie under the Stars" is to provide a fun, FREE, family-friendly event. It provides an opportunity for families to enjoy beautiful weather in northern Minnesota during the summer. Movie titles will be selected this spring and will be family friendly. The large screen will be placed under the Rotary Tent at KAXE.

“We will also be providing light refreshments of popcorn and juice, because what is a movie without popcorn?” says Sarah Bignall, Director of Operations, KAXE. “We are excited to bring the ‘Movies under the Stars’ to our community. Just bring your blanket or a chair and you are set for a wonderful evening!”

Northern Community Radio builds community in northern Minnesota through radio programming, cultural events, and interactive media.

The Fund for the Arts is providing funding.

Murphy Elementary School fosters physical fitness and wellness with new traverse wall An indoor Children's Traverse Wall in the main cafeteria at Murphy Elementary School? Why, yes! The purpose of the wall is to encourage physical fitness and wellness among students.

According to, Sean Martinson, Principal, Murphy Elementary School, “We continue to see an increased need for children to move and exercise throughout the course of the day. We often accomplish this during daily physical education classes and recess periods, however we continue to see a need for movement activities throughout the rest of the school day and it is challenging to find movement activities during inclement weather when children are unable to go outside.”

Traverse climbing is a safer type of climbing challenge, without the requirement of ropes or harnesses. Climbers advance across a wall horizontally, never more than two or three feet from the floor. Hand/foot holds of different shapes and sizes create changeable routes and challenges for all ages and skill levels. The activity is continuous as climbers traverse from one end of the wall to the other. Traverse climbing on indoor climbing walls for students addresses national physical education goals by building physical skills such as strength, balance, and coordination. It also develops interpersonal skills such as communication, teamwork, and conflict resolution, promoting better cognition among developing students. Problem solving, planning, and decision-making skills are engaged during traverse games and other challenges, making bouldering walls a highly effective way to hone critical skills.

A grant from the Wildcat Fund and Kosak Family Fund is helping to fund a portion of the cost to implement the traverse wall.

The Board of Directors and staff at the Community Foundation send a huge thank you to our donors who participate in our Annual Grant Cycle and directly assist us in our mission of making our community a better place to live for all.

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350 NW 1st Ave, Suite E  | Grand Rapids, MN 55744  |  218-999-9100

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