The Stewardship Team of Galesburg on Track (GOT) awarded its first Community Heart & Soul grant to build a Storywalk in Standish Park Arboretum. The $5,000 grant, administered by Galesburg Community Foundation, will support a joint request from the Galesburg Public Library and City of Galesburg Parks and Recreation.
Storywalk is a fun, educational activity for all ages that places enlarged pages from a children’s story along a popular walking path or outdoor venue. Storywalk instills a child’s interest in reading, connects families to the outdoors, and provides a fun sense of community spirit. Stories are typically changed out on a weekly or monthly basis and can be aligned with holidays, local events, and seasons.
“Storywalk instills a child’s interest in reading, connects families to the outdoors, and provides a fun sense of community spirit,” said Melinda Jones-Rhodes of the Galesburg Public Library.
Conceived by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, Vermont, as a way to prevent or lessen the impact of chronic disease on adults and children by increasing physical activity, the inspiration to build a local Storywalk was pitched by Melinda Jones-Rhoades, Head of the Children’s Department of the Galesburg Public Library.
“We also anticipate that providing an opportunity to engage with books while playing outdoors will help children build early literacy skills, increase their vocabulary and associate reading with recreation,” Jones-Rhodes said.
Jones-Rhoades recruited the support of Director Tony Oligney-Estill and his staff at Galesburg Parks and Recreation to lead the installation of approximately 16 Storywalk boards in Standish Park and join in the Heart & Soul grant request.
“The Department of Parks and Recreation is excited to partner with the Galesburg Library on such a worthwhile project,” Oligney-Estill said. “We are always looking for opportunities to work with other organizations or individuals that want to promote healthy living and recreation.”
The GOT Stewardship Team approved the grant based on the project’s alignment with several of the eight Heart & Soul value statements that serve as the foundation of its on-going work to support what matters most to Galesburg’s citizens. These statements were built on thousands of data points collected over two years through surveys, interviews, and storytelling from a widely diverse population of the Galesburg community.
Plans are to install the Storywalk Project in Standish Park in the spring of 2020.
Individuals or groups interested in applying for a Heart & Soul grant through Galesburg On Track may contact Tiffany Springer at Galesburg Community Foundation.