A St. Johnsbury Academy organization for Career and Technical Education (CTE) students has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation that will be used to build a new garage for the Lyndon Outing Club's grooming and safety equipment.

"Local families and their children will be the primary beneficiaries of the project," the club's grant application said. "If the (Outing Club) is able to keep its equipment secure, it will be able to continue to provide affordable outdoor recreation opportunities for the families of our area."

The application also noted, "Most of the families who utilize the (Outing Club) are families who cannot afford to bring their children to expensive ski resorts."

"With the help of the Academy's SkillsUSA® students and this grant, the Lyndon Outing Club board will be able to realize a decade-long dream of building a secure facility to house their most important equipment, allowing them to focus further fund raising efforts on much needed improvements to the lodge," the application continued.

Academy students, meanwhile, "will benefit by learning new skills, providing leadership for their peers by taking on a visible community project, and learning transferable skills while engaging in this large-scale philanthropic effort," the document added.

The approximately 40-member Academy Skills Club expects to begin working at the ski facility and recreation area, located at the intersection of Hill Street and Lily Pond Road in Lyndonville, by late April or early May and finish in early September, Electricity instructor Michael Bugbee, one of the club's faculty advisors, said.

Academy CTE class offerings represented include Residential Wiring, Construction Trades, Drafting, Transportation & Logistics, Human Services, and Culinary Arts.

Club members were also actively involved in the grant application process and are currently in the "project planning process," which includes regular contact with the Outing Club's board of directors, Bugbee added.

Operating through the international Lowe's home improvement center chain, the Lowe's foundation contributed more than $30 million in 2010 to community improvement projects in the United States, Canada and Mexico, according to a foundation spokesperson.

The Academy's grant is part of the foundation's efforts to support the nationwide nonprofit SkillsUSA® organization's programs, which teach high school and college Career and Technical Education (CTE) students employability skills such as communication, problem solving and leadership in conjunction with their trade, technical and service occupation skills.

One of only 12 Foundation SkillsUSA® grants awarded nationwide, "The grant to the Academy represents Lowe's commitment to career and technical education," Foundation chairman Marshall Croom said. "By supporting schools like the Academy, we believe we are contributing to a cause that's important to our customers and employees by helping provide improved learning environments and build stronger communities."

The Academy also awarded a Lowes's Foundation community improvement grant in 2008, which CTE students used to help renovate the non-profit Northeast Kingdom Youth Services organization's St. Johnsbury headquarters.

"Just like the Outing Club project, the Youth Services job was student-driven and proof of the Academy's commitment to stewardship ," Bugbee stressed. "We really do try to 'go beyond' to help the community at-large in any way we can."

Additional information about the foundation's community support efforts is available by visiting its Website, www.Lowes.com/SocialResponsibility.

Information about Academy CTE programs and course offerings is available through the school's Website, www.stjohnsburyacademy.org.


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