report by the Association of Community Services of Howard County on self sufficiency indicated that even though we live in a wealthy county we still have income disparity that leaves some families barely hanging on. This can be seen in the number of children that now are eligible for free lunch in our schools. To try and insure that all students in our school system has the resources needed for success and to promote educational innovation the Board of Education created the Bright Minds Foundation in 2006. As their website states:
" We fund programs, services and ideas that can make a difference in a student’s life. We make grants where funding would otherwise not be available within the system’s budget. Although Howard County is one of the wealthiest communities in the country, one in ten of our public school students are eligible to receive free or reduced priced meals and over 350 children are homeless. These children are academically disadvantaged because they do not have access to the personal resources that most of Howard County takes for granted. Bright Minds wants to level the playing field by providing learning tools to families whose resources are limited."
The Foundation has provided computers to hundreds of Howard County schools over the last 5 years working mostly with the Lazarus Foundation who rebuilds donated computers. Students receiving the computers have to attend a class to learn how to best use their computer. For most of these families it is the first computer they have had in their home.
Additionally the Foundation provides grants to teachers to develop innovative educational programs that provide students with exciting learning opportunities that expand on the classroom instruction. Some of the projects funded have includes a geocaching programs to teach 6th and 7th grade students how to use GPS, Girl Talk to work on self esteem issues of 8th grade girls and a variety of robotic and engineering programs. Teachers can apply for up to $2500 for a project.
For anyone interested in donating to this program click on this link