Ancramdale Neighbors provides education grants

ANCRAMDALE – For the past five years, the Ancramdale Neighbors Helping Neighbors Association has provided higher education grants to help Town of Ancram students who graduate from high school and then attend an accredited college, community college, or vocational school. These grants are intended to help students pay for food, clothing, books, or transportation during the academic year, and they are based on need. To date, Neighbors has awarded 30 grants.

As a not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation and state-accredited food bank serving Ancram, Ancramdale, and Boston Corner, the Neighbors organization relies on community contributions to fund its various activities, including providing area families with food on a weekly basis, holiday baskets, school supplies for area students and schools, and help during family emergencies, such as a job loss or health crisis.

This year, thanks to continuing community financial support, Neighbors was able to increase the grant amounts.

Ancramdale Neighbors Helping Neighbors Association board members with the high education scholarship winners. Pictured (l to r, standing) Nancy Bryant, Jane Moore, Adrienne Citrin, Eric Wiener, Michael Sturdivant, Laura Ponkos, Jack Lindsay, (seated) Alyssa Murphy, Alissa Cleveland, Leslie Boice, Sarah Mason, Annette Sturdivant and David Ditto. Photo by B. Docktor

The following students were invited to Ancram Town Hall on July 19 for recognition of their achievements and to receive their grant checks. A previous Neighbors grant recipient Leslie Boice, is beginning her senior year at Russell Sage College, and, at the same time, she starts her first year of graduate studies as part of an accelerated program. She majors in psychology and occupational therapy.

A recipient of one of the first Neighbors grants in 2014, Alissa Cleveland initially attended Columbia Greene Community College, then continued her studies in education at SUNY New Paltz, where she hopes to receive her master’s degree next year. With a teaching certificate, Alissa works as a substitute teacher while attending graduate school. She reports the Neighbors grant money helps her pay for books, EZ-pass, and gas.

Last year, David Ditto received a Neighbors grant, which he used to purchase books for his first year of studies at Dutchess Community College for Electrical Engineering. He ultimately hopes to earn a degree in civil engineering and work in the field of power systems engineering design. He commutes more than 45 minutes to school, so he plans to use the grant for books and gas.

Sarah Mason will finish her studies at C-GCC this fall, and in January, she will continue her major in elementary education, with a concentration in history, at SUNY New Paltz. This year, she worked at Seymour Smith Elementary School and also serves as director of the Ancram Kids Camp.

A recent graduate of Stissing Mountain High School, Alyssa Murphy plans to attend C-GCC to begin studies in medical assisting. Eventually, she hopes to earn a degree as a registered nurse.

For as long as she can remember, Annette Sturdivant says she has wanted to work with and around animals. She plans to begin her studies toward a career as a veterinarian at C-GCC this fall.

Last year, Neighbors announced a new grant – the career advancement grant – designed to help people currently working to advance in their profession or attend training that qualifies them for an increase in hourly wages. This grant is available throughout the year, while the higher education grants are typically awarded in the spring of each year.

For more information on these grant programs or to contribute contact Adrienne Citrin, 518-329-5042, or Jack Lindsey, 518-329-7306.

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