SOU English major Shelee Juarez was paired up with the Jackson County Library Foundation when she needed a project last spring for her Grant Writing and Workplace Literacy Class (ENG 329).
The result, several months later, was a $9,000 grant for the JCLF to buy giveaway books for preschoolers in full-time child care – and an invaluable professional experience for Juarez.
It was Juarez’s first grant writing work, and she said that “being thrown into the deep end gave me a better learning experience.”
Juarez first met in May of 2018 with Amy Drake, the JCLF’s executive director. They discussed the foundation’s various programs, and which of those had needs, then zeroed in on the JCLF’s Outreach to Childcare Program. The program is a free service that delivers books to full-time child care sites for preschool children.
Over the course of the summer, Juarez was involved in nearly every aspect of a grant application to the Umpqua Bank Charitable Foundation. Her main role was to answer all of the application questions with information she had gathered either from Drake or the JCLF website.
Everything she wrote was sent for review to Drake, who either approved or revised the material. Juarez also helped write a cover letter and to answer questions including how many clients were served, their economic status and the program description.
With the deadline approaching near the end of September, Juarez created an account with the Umpqua Bank Charitable Foundation for the JCLF’s application materials. Everything she had worked on was transferred into the application system for Drake to submit.
Juarez also said that it was incredibly gratifying to hear from Drake last fall that the JCLF had received $9,000 because of her work.
She plans to use her new knowledge with future employers, either by doing more grant writing or applying the skills to technical writing.
Juarez is set to graduate in March with a bachelor’s degree in English, with a concentration in technical writing and a minor in creative writing. She is a freelance book reviewer and already does work with major publishers and public relations firms.
She is married to her high-school sweetheart and has an 8-year-old son.
Story by Bryn Mosier, SOU Marketing and Communications intern