BRIGGS, Okla., Mar 02, 2011 -- After being awarded over $28,000 in Community Facility Grant funds from the USDA Rural Development, students in at Briggs School are riding on a new school bus. Funding for this project is supported by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Of the 519 students enrolled at Briggs, over 480 are enrolled in the after school program "Health for a Lifetime," for which the bus was purchased; the after school program focuses on nutrition, health, exercise, drug prevention and goal setting.
"Studies and surveys indicate that most parents lack the resources and understanding of nutrition, exercise, and other health prevention activities that will help them lead their families into healthy and active living," said Alicia O'Donnell, superintendent at Briggs School. "By educating both directly with parents and through the education of the students during the after school and summer programs, the "Health for a Lifetime" program will help our community become healthier."
Without transportation the program would be less effective and serve a much smaller group of students because parents are unable to transport their children from the program.
"One of our greatest challenges is to provide the "Health for a Lifetime" program so it fits into the working schedules and busy lives of our community families," O'Donnell said. "Because of this, it is important that we provide transportation for students following the after school program at 5:30 and transportation before and after the summer program."
The 71-passenger bus, not only is used to drop students off after the program, but is used for educational field trips.
"Having the bus dedicated solely to the program provides necessary transportation for many of the field trips that are used to educate students on proper nutrition, health and fitness," O'Donnell said.
According to Ryan McMullen, State Director of USDA Rural Development, "not only is this a benefit to physical health of these rural families, this new bus meets green emission standards, and is a benefit to the environmental health of northeast Oklahoma."
"The community is very supportive of Briggs School and the programs offered," said O'Donnell. "Providing transportation for students is a benefit that many of our community members appreciate very much."
Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Community Facility Grant Program, provides grants to assist in the development of essential community facilities in rural areas and towns of up to 20,000 in population. Grants are available to public entities to aid in the development or improvement of community facilities. Funds can be used to construct, enlarge, or improve community facilities for health care, public safety, and community and public services. Projects funded through the program will enhance the quality of life in rural America.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).