How does one turn discarded recyclable materials into paintbrushes, crayons, scissors, and even a sink? Abstract art displays would be a great guess, but the real answer is more simple.
Pioneer Electric wants to make sure that the communities we serve are strong for years to come, so we created the Helping Us Give to Society (H.U.G.S.) program. The program utilizes funds that accumulate through the process of recycling pieces of steel, aluminum and copper that have been taken out of service due to repair or rebuild. These funds are then available to projects within our service territory through an application process.
“I’ve actually applied for two grants through the H.U.G.S program,” said Stephanie Manis, a fourth-year art teacher at Sullivan Elementary, in Ulysses.
Manis built her art program from scratch, and needed supplies when she first started. She applied for a H.U.G.S grant in 2018 and was awarded $5,800 for her program.
“I wanted my students to have a chance to receive good quality supplies to ensure their art education,” said Manis.
Manis was able to purchase a variety of art supplies for her classroom to aid her students in expanding their skills through different art mediums.
“I have been able to bring in supplies many of my students may not have ever seen or heard of,” said Manis. “We have been able to learn about all kinds of different art movements, art history and artists.”
Now stocked with art supplies, Manis found herself looking for the best way to keep those supplies, and her classroom, clean. She once again turned to Pioneer’s H.U.G.S program.
“The second time I applied in hopes I would be able to purchase a portable sink for my classroom since my students and I didn’t have quick access to water.” Manis said. Her program was granted $6,000 for the purchase of a portable sink in January 2020.
The art room’s new sink works by plugging into an outlet; a motor inside the unit helps pump clean water from a jug through the faucet. Dirty water is then drained into a separate jug. Depending on the art projects, Manis changes out the water three to four times a week. The sink also allows for the use of warm or cold water.
“It has been wonderful to see my students grow with the supplies we have been able to use in the classroom,” Manis said. After seeing the effects that having funds available has had on her classroom, Manis often encourages other educators to apply for the program.
“I am incredibly grateful for the funding I have received,” said Manis, “It has truly helped make a positive impact in my classroom, to ensure that I am able to purchase the resources they need to grow.”
Know a community project that could use additional funding? The application for the H.U.G.S. program can be found at pioneerelectric.coop under the “Community” tab. Additional information about the application process and eligibility requirements are found within the application itself. If you have questions about the H.U.G.S. program, contact Anita Wendt at 620-356-1211.
Sullivan art teacher, Stephanie Manis used her second H.U.G.S. grant to purchase a portable sink for her classroom