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County awards nearly $92K in grants to fill in education gaps
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Nonprofit groups filling in the education gaps COVID-19 caused are getting some help from Liberty County.

Five nonprofits were awarded nearly $92,000 following submittal of grant applications for American Rescue Plan Act funding to shore up areas of learning loss brought on by the pandemic.

Seven groups submitted grant applications but two were disqualified because they did not meet the grant’s requirements, Assistant County Administrator Joseph Mosley said.

“We vetted them thoroughly,” he said. “We wanted to make sure what they requested followed ARPA guidelines.”

Commissioners had earmarked $100,000 from their ARPA proceeds for educational assistance.

Groups awarded grants, in varying amounts, were Heavenly Place Childcare Center, Liberty County Boys and Girls Club, Lightsout Empowering Mentoring and Tutoring, One Hand Washes the Other and Third to the Nineth Power.

County Administrator Joey Brown said academic assistance progress will have to be shown by the groups. Organizations that receive grants will get a pre-test, a middle test to show progression or decline and a final test to see that guidelines were met. Those groups also are required to submit a final report.

Commissioners also approved $30,000 to Diversity Health Center to help it finish a building project.

Diversity Health Center was awarded a $1 million grant in 2020 to build a 3,000 square foot addition at its Fraser Drive facility. The addition is planned to allow Diversity Health Center to add mammography, radiology and obstetrics services. But materials and constructions costs have exceeded the original budget.

“Now that COVID has let up and prices are escalating, it is going to cost us a little bit more than what we had budgeted for,” Commissioner Connie Thrift said. “We are growing and the clientele over there is really booming. Doing a lot of good things over there.”

Brown said Diversity has lessened the number of people who otherwise might go to the Liberty Regional Medical Center emergency room.

“There are a large number of people who go there,” he said.

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