Toledo, Ohio, April 11, 2024:  Some local teachers in the region are getting a little extra boost to help with their classroom needs. Directions Credit Union is excited to announce 17 winners from the Directions Cares for Classrooms Grant Program Winter 2024.

Directions Cares for Classrooms grant program provides educators with small grants up to $500 each to be used for a variety of projects and materials, including books, software, calculators, math manipulatives, art supplies, audio-visual equipment, lab materials and more.

The grant program is open to K-12 educators who work for public, private or charter schools in the Directions field of membership, which includes schools in Ashland, Crawford, Fulton, Huron, Knox, Lucas, Richland, Tuscarawas, Wayne, Wood, Monroe (MI), and Lenawee (MI).

Directions Credit Union received 144 applications for Winter 2024. This year’s winners include:

Toledo Winners

Carrie Swangstu – Jerusalem Elementary (Oregon City School District) – The teacher will use the funds for a variety of art supplies. Ms. Swangstu teaches Science and Social studies but uses art as a hands-on way of understanding a variety of lessons. In addition to demonstrating an understanding of Science and Social studies, art assists with improved motor skills, learning to follow directions, and allows students to be introduced to art elements.

Susan Fitzpatrick – Explorers Academy (Southside, Toledo, Ohio) – The program is designed to help students build their self-confidence and give them a sense of “I am somebody.” They are working on teamwork and their ability to present themselves with confidence.  The funds will be used to purchase clothing.

Carla Rygalski – Fallen Timbers Middle School (Anthony Wayne Local School District) – This project is a unique opportunity for students to learn about and experience a culture different from their own.  A local henna artist will be doing a lecture on the history of henna design and students that wish to can participate by getting a henna design.

Heather Rotunno – Shoreland Elementary (Washington Local Schools) – The funds will be used to purchase costumes, sets and supplies for the production of Wonderland, a musical based on the story of Alice in Wonderland. Students will have an opportunity to create their own props as well as singing and acting in the program.

Kim Coffman – Penta Career Center (Penta Career Center District, Perrysburg, Ohio) – The students in the career-based intervention program are required to provide their own transportation to and from work and school.  The grant funds will be used for students who need assistance in getting to school and work, helping to remove barriers to their success.

Vicki Mayfield – Ottawa River Elementary (Toledo City Schools) – Ms. Mayfield will be purchasing raised garden beds and topsoil so that the children can experience caring for plants and watching them grow.  This program motivates, encourages creativity, and helps students be more aware of their environment.

“Educators play such a vital role in the lives of their students, and they often spend their own money to purchase supplies, materials, and items to make their classrooms complete or to help students that may need something extra. Directions Cares for Classrooms is a small way we can say thank you to all the wonderful educators making a difference,” said Barry Shaner, President/CEO at Directions Credit Union.