Afterschool programs and hands-on science lessons for students, arts workshops for seniors, and a mobile food pantry for those in need are among the initiatives receiving grants from the Governor Mifflin Area Charitable Program this year.
The Russell L. Hiller Charitable Trust of Berks County Community Foundation funds the program. Seven organizations will receive a total of $33,200 in grants from this annual distribution:
- Olivet Boys & Girls Club – $7,500 to run a satellite location in partnership with Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, Shillington, to expand afterschool programming from two to five days per week for middle school children in the Governor Mifflin School District.
- The S.P.A.R.K.S. Foundation – $5,000 to continue its hands-on science experiments with fourth-grade students in the district. The S.P.A.R.K.S. (Science Projects are Really Kids’ Stuff!) Foundation is a Mohnton-based nonprofit that promotes science literacy.
- Reading Public Museum – $5,000 to continue the “Feed Their Imagination” program, which will bring 450 Governor Mifflin students to the museum for tours and activities that directly relate to what they are learning in the classroom.
- Helping Harvest – $5,000 to support the Mohnton Mobile Market, which provides healthy fresh and frozen items to families in need.
- VOiCEup Berks – $5,000 to run a Youth Volunteer Corps program at the Governor Mifflin Middle School. VOiCEup, a fund of the Community Foundation, runs the local affiliate of the national Youth Volunteer Corps, which encourages volunteerism in youth ages 11 to 18 through consistent, well-organized volunteer opportunities.
- Clay on Main – $2,996 to run monthly craft workshops at the Mifflin Encore Center to give seniors the opportunity to work with fused glass, printmaking, and painting.
- YMCA of Reading and Berks County – $2,704 to conduct its Healthy Educational Living Program (HELP), which fosters wellness habits in students through programs that include nutritionally-aware eating, strength training, mindfulness, meditation, yoga, gardening, speakers, and workshops.
A bequest by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Russell L. Hiller established the Russell L. Hiller Charitable Trust in 2003 when the 60-year resident of Shillington passed away at the age of 97. He spent 26 years as a federal bankruptcy judge in Reading.
Throughout his years in Shillington, Hiller often walked to the borough park and relaxed on a bench overlooking Governor Mifflin schools. The pursuit of education was his lifelong passion.