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F.I.R.S.T. School Receives Gorman Fund Gift

The Richland County Foundation recently awarded a grant from the Gorman Fund to Chris Jones at F.I.R.S.T. School for $1,500 for a songwriters workshop for students. 

On February 4th, recording artist Anne E. DeChant from the ‘90s band Odd Girl Out will give a course to F.I.R.S.T. English/Language Arts teachers on how to write songs. From there teachers will instruct students, who will then compose their own lyrics. These will be sent to and looked over by DeChant and another musical colleague, who will then put music to the lyrics and record them for the students.

Jones, a teacher and transition coordinator at F.I.R.S.T., said the students will get a physical copy of their own song. “I’m really excited about this project because every one of the kids will get to hear their lyrics in a professionally produced recording. We are planning a listening party for April 12th, 2022. At this point all of the details aren’t worked out, whether it will be in-person or via Zoom, but we know it’s going to make a big impact on the students.”

Jones said while the ELA lessons are important for this project, there are other benefits that are just as important. “Students at F.I.R.S.T. are there because of rough situations in their lives. Having a great artist like Anne E. DeChant agree to do this project with us will, I hope, really boost their confidence. Maybe it will even inspire some of them to pursue a creative career.”

Vanessa Wagner, principal at F.I.R.S.T. School, said encouraging students to look to their futures is another great benefit of this program. “Chris does a great job helping students look at different career paths for when they leave F.I.R.S.T., but this songwriters workshop is just a really unique opportunity that we are so glad to have, and we couldn’t have done it without the Richland Community Foundation’s help.”

Private Residential Treatment Facility (PRTF) Programs include the Abraxas School and FIRST School, which are funded through the Ohio Department of Education Private Residential Treatment Facility Pilot Program to operate the academic program at two of the three PRTF sites: Abraxas, located east of Shelby and FIRST, located west of Lucas. These programs are also supported through Title 1-D (Delinquent) funds administered by Mid-Ohio ESC. Mid-Ohio ESC partners with the residential treatment program administration and staff to deliver an educational program that meets the requirements of the Ohio Department of Education for students in correctional facilities.

The Richland County Foundation is one of the largest private sources of grant making in Richland County and administers over 375 charitable funds established by businesses, families and individuals. The mission of the Richland County Foundation is to improve and enhance the quality of life in Richland County through strategic philanthropy and community leadership.

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