The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

March 5, 2011

Now the play begins

Grant writer brings in serious dollars to PTO’s efforts

By Phyllis Zorn, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

JET — A five-year dream of Timberlake Parent Teacher Organization may be realized this summer.

The group has long wanted new school playground equipment for the elementary school. After years of holding small fundraisers and banking money toward the day, the money to move forward recently has come snowballing in, and the plan is to install equipment this summer.

“When I started the PTO five years ago our first main priority was not only to have the parents and teachers work together but we also wanted to have a playground,” said PTO president Lisa Nickel.

Fundraising was proceeding slowly, considering how much money needed to be raised. The type of playground equipment the PTO wants to buy costs around $83,000. Nickel said she and others in the PTO knew what was needed was a grant writer to help bring in larger contributions to the cause.

Enter Jennifer Diller, the fifth-grade teacher at Timberlake. Diller had written grants in the past and went to work.

“It’s been kind of a big deal with me,” Diller said. “I just wanted to get this done.”

Inasmuch Foundation, in Oklahoma City, gave $30,000 to the group in December, and it wasn’t the only one.

KanOkla Networks, a wireless Internet, DSL and telephone provider based in Caldwell, Kan., awarded $10,000 toward the equipment in January.

The grant was issued through the KanOkla School Assistance program, which provides matching funds to money raised, said Pam Schneider, KanOkla business manager.

But that wasn’t all.

Alfalfa Electric Cooperative and Bass Medical Center also gave $1,000 grants to the cause in January.

“We have around $65,000,” Nickel said.

Now the PTO can begin planning in earnest.

“Our plans are,” Nickel said, “we would really like to work on it this summer and have it ready when school begins this August.”

Volunteers from the community have agreed to come do the work.

Anyone who would like to donate toward the playground equipment can mail a check to Timberlake PTO, in care of Lisa Nickel, P.O. Box 188, Jet, OK 73749.

Donations are tax-deductible, as the PTO is a 501(c)3 corporation.