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School supply program is planned for Belle Plaine and Benton schools

Benton County Volunteer Program is sponsoring its annual school supplies program for the Benton Community and Belle Plaine Community School districts.

Atkins, Blairstown, Elberon, Keystone, Newhall, Norway, Van Horne, and Belle Plaine libraries will serve as gathering sites for supplies. The program has been very helpful to students and teachers in the classroom. This is an excellent time to take advantage of all the school supply sales to purchase an extra item or two to contribute. Supplies will be delivered to local school sites and made available as needed.

Elementary staffs will distribute items with emphasis on needs that have not been provided. This program is not to take the place of the required school list that each student is to provide, but rather to augment needed items which students or families do not have the means, or are unable, to provide throughout the school year.

Benton County Volunteer Program would like to acknowledge the public libraries of our area for their cooperation in serving as the collection points. Please contact Pat Franzenburg (319-434-6078) for further information.

Benton County Empowerment offers preschool tuition funds to Benton County children

Benton County Empowerment has funds available to be used at centers and preschools in Benton County for preschool tuition assistance. The funds came via the scholarship component of Benton County Empowerment. This fund was designed to assist families who may not otherwise be able to send their child to daycare or preschool.

“It is important that all children be offered the opportunity to attend preschool,” said Heidi Schminke, Benton County Empowerment Coordinator. “In order to ensure that no child is kept out of preschool because families are not financially able to send them, Benton County Empowerment has made funds available for scholarships.”

Families interested in receiving scholarships should contact the Benton County Empowerment office either by phone, e-mail or from our web site. You may also contact the preschool your child will be attending for a copy of the application. Families whose income is 200 percent or below poverty level are encouraged to apply. Once approved for assistance payments will be made directly to the preschools each month. Eighty percent attendance is required each month in order to continue to receive assistance. A complete copy of the policies and procedures are included in the application packet. Funds will be awarded on a first come first served basis.

“Funds for scholarships were made available through the State Empowerment School Ready money. Benton County Empowerment appreciates the funding opportunities that the legislators have provided,” said Schminke. “We anticipate that more than 50 children in Benton County will benefit from the scholarship funds.”

Benton County Empowerment offers services and referrals to families throughout Benton County with children ages 0-5. The focus of Empowerment is to ensure that children enter school happy, healthy and ready to learn. For more information on Benton County Empowerment or the other service resources available in the county, contact Heidi Schminke at 319/472-4543 or 888/690-3444, or visit our web site at

UPDATED August 12, 2009 9:53 AM

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