Parent-led initiatives to improve their local schools can take many forms such as participating on the Local School Improvement Council (LSIC) at their child’s school or hosting a family educational event, or organizing a team of parents and teachers to submit a grant to support a new initiative for children at the school. The FLC Mini Grant Project page features short descriptions of fifty different parent-led projects funded by FLC in 2017-2018. These mini grants can give you ideas about what is possible to make a positive change at your child’s school.

Alicia Lyons, parent and team leader, Mountaineer Mindfulness Movement, Grafton, WVEven better than reading summaries of mini grant projects is hearing firsthand from parents who have experienced the power of putting their dreams for their children’s school into action. Alicia Lyons, parent and team leader of the Mountaineer Mindfulness & Movement project at Anna Jarvis Elementary School (Grafton, WV), explains that, “luckily we’ve been able to find and get awarded several different grants, so it let’s us work a bit at a time. We’ve got really big plans, so we’ve had to cut our ideas into phases…or stages. Their first grant through Try This West Virginia allowed them to clear the nature trail that existed behind the school, make the trail ADA compliant (follows the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act), added two benches, and a small library. Alicia describes some of the unique learning opportunities provided by the outdoor platform int this video (1:52): ActivitiesGiveYouthStressReliefTactics.

With funding from the 2017-2018 grant from Families Leading Change, Anna Jarvis Elementary School (Taylor County) partnered with the Taylor County Collaborative Family Resource Network to organize a Mountaineer Mindfulness and Movement project, which engaged community volunteers in the construction of a handicapped accessible outdoor classroom platform for use by students, teachers, school counselor, and the community.

This platform marks a new entrance to the Owl Trail. The outdoor platform is being used for community workshops and school activities addressing mindfulness, yoga, and other stress reduction and health promotion strategies. Anna Jarvis receives all Taylor County students with disabilities, so it has been important to the project team that they make the trail and related activities ADA compliant. The Mountaineer Mindfulness project is designed for all children, and the project team makes sure that no child is excluded.

When asked what she thought was the greatest impact of the Mountaineer Mindfulness project, Alicia shares one student’s assessment of their time out on the platform in this video segment: (1:47) AnnaJarvisGreatestImpacts