Three area schools and three nonprofit groups have been gifted with thousands of dollars from Dow's Pittsburg Operations.

The lucky six were in attendance during a recent winter holiday awards dinner, where the community grants were doled out.

The Dow Community Advisory Panel awarded more than $25,000 for 2014 programs benefitting STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education in East County.

During the event, the recipients presented a summary of the upcoming projects.

The 2013 Dow Community Grant winners (and the projects, according to the press release) were:

Marine Science Institute (Pittsburg), Delta Discovery Voyage: "The grant will support a group of underprivileged Pittsburg students to embark on a guided boat tour across the Delta for the purpose of observing species captured and released live from the waters of the Delta, as well as taking samples of cultures for study.

All students will receive a Water Patrol activities kit and experience structured lessons about the importance of maintaining the ecosystem." Grant: $4,000.

People Who Care Association (Pittsburg), Green jobs training program: "The grant will support a project to educate at-risk youth about opportunities in green energy jobs in manufacturing.


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They will be paired with volunteers to build a permanent tool shed with solar panels and a generator to power lights and outlets, with these funds exclusively sponsoring the purchase of construction materials." Grant: $5,000.

Antioch Middle School, site garden restoration: "The grant will allow for the purchase of supplies to build a sustainable learning garden. The sixth-grade class that establishes it and following sixth-grade classes that maintain it will learn key concepts and principles of agriculture." Grant: $5,000.

Homeless Animals Lifeline Organization (Antioch), Angel Ears dog therapy program: "The grant will support the training and certification of homeless canines to become therapy animals for education assistance of students with learning disabilities. Special reading materials, certifications, grooming materials, reading enclosures and blankets will be purchased to pair these animals with children having difficulty learning to read." Grant: $2,500.

Liberty Union High School District (Brentwood), Marsh Creek monitoring for watershed health: "The grant will enable students in AP Calculus and AP Environment to experience hands-on scientific learning about monitoring water quality and interpreting chemistry data.

Environment students will perform stream sampling and testing, while calculus students will determine hydrologic calculations and interpret data, with funds going entirely to supplies." Grant: $5,000.

Freedom High School (Oakley), Falcon Perch Freedom garden: "The grant will support the development of a garden greenhouse and irrigation system.

Students will be taught about conservation and natural habitats, with observation of natural species." Grant: $3,800.

According to Josh Wimble (Dow Public & Government Affairs), grants have been handed out yearly since 2006, but this is the first year the total exceeded the standard $15,000.

Grants run from $2,500 to $5,000 each. This group was chosen from 35 applicants, and totaled $25,300.

"The panel kept asking for more (because) the need in this area of quality STEM initiatives (was) so great," he said.

Dow gives about $200,000 annually to nonprofits in the East Bay, "but this program is unique in that we designate community members (of the advisory board) as the selection committee in order to benefit unique educational and environmental projects locally."

For more information, visit www.dow.com.

A SHOE IN: Pittsburg High is seeking a sole mate -- make that sole mates.

As part of its fundraising efforts to send its Marching Show Band to London, the boosters are spearing a drive for used shoes -- any size, any style and any condition.

The program hopes to collect at least 7,500 pairs of shoes by Dec. 16.

The PHS band is set to perform during the 2014 Queen's New Year's Day parade.

According to the band boosters letter, the "more pair of shoes we collect, the more money we will raise ..." The group is encouraging everyone to share the information with family, friends and via social networking.

Shoes can be dropped off at the school office, 1750 Harbor St.; at Railroad Cleaners, 2199 Railroad Ave.; or Railroad Book Depot, 650 Railroad Ave. For more information, call 925-250-8455.

TAKE THE BAKE: Antioch High School parents will host a bake sale from noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 14 in front of Save Mart, 3190 Contra Loma Blvd. in Antioch.

The sale benefits the school's Senior All-Night event aboard the Hornblower Cruise for a "safe and sober" option for the 2014 graduates.

Those interested can donate cash or baked items, which can be dropped off the day of the sale.

For details, call 925-727-5847 or 510-706-8733.

If you have school news to share, contact Trine Gallegos at trineg@att.net. Note: Trine also does community outreach for Antioch High.