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Foundation Helps Send Norfolk Kids to Camp and Norfolk Seniors to College

Residents encouraged to apply

 

By Babs Perkins

In this age of rising college tuitions and summer camp fees, as school budgets for music, art and culture diminish and the need in our community surges, the Norfolk Connecticut Children’s Foundation is quietly doing its part to mitigate costs.

One of the lesser known not-for-profits in town, the NCCF was established in 1985 when the Laurel School (now partially occupied by the Norfolk Early Learning Center), a nonprofit residential program for children with special needs run by local residents Ken and Dottie Satherlie, had to close due to a change in state education policy.

According to board president Don Tobias, the foundation’s philosophy, “that no Norfolk child should be denied a civic, educational, social or cultural enrichment opportunity because of need,” is rooted in the Satherlies’ belief that children could reach their greatest potential through loving support and guidance.

In the last ten years, the NCCF has granted more than $150,000 to Norfolk children, including nearly $40,000 to help send kids to camp and over $50,000 to graduating high school seniors.

When asked about the numbers, Tobias pointed out that, while the figures themselves are notable, what is more important is the numbers of children and families they represent. “At last count, we sent over 200 kids to camp since 2009. That includes camps Jewell, AHA! and Wa Wa Segowea, as well as special interest camps for baseball, basketball and theater. We even sent one child to a camp for kids with diabetes.”

Speaking about NCCF’s college scholarship program, Tobias pointed out that the board has had to adapt to the times. “Not every kid goes straight to college or to a two- or four-year institution, and we don’t feel they should be automatically disqualified. We’ve seen more gap-years and interest in technical/professional development programs, so we allow for a short-term deferral until the student starts their studies. And we consider alternative educational paths as well.”

“Approval is not guaranteed, for either our grants or our scholarships.” Tobias said. “But we always encourage residents to at least submit an application.”

The Board meets four times a year but convenes special sessions in order to address requests in a timely manner. (Full disclosure: the author sits on the foundation board.) Scholarship and grant application forms can be found online at the foundation’s website, www.norfolkchildren.com. The deadline for college scholarship applications is April 30, 2017. Summer camp and grant applications are considered on a rolling basis.

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