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      Education Foundation grants money to educators

      A s all levels of education face steep budget cuts, Education Foundations are probably needed more now than ever.

      In fact, Amarillo's Foundation has stepped up by passing out grants to some of our teachers.

      The Amarillo Education Foundation has been making the rounds to different schools throughout the week.

      Thursday, Sam Houston Middle School, where two staff members received what they're calling, crucial money. It's this week's Region 16 Spotlight on Education report.

      "Oh my gosh, we got the grants," said Kayla Middleton, Sam Houston Librarian.

      It was pure excitement and joy these educators were feeling after receiving some funding they could really put to good use.

      "This is why we do what we do. This is the highlight of the year , frankly, when we give these grants to teachers because when they apply to this they have no idea, this is a total surprise," said Susan Stevenson, Amarillo Education Foundation Executive Director.

      One grant, close to $1,500, will help buy schoolbooks for kids to take home to read during the summer.

      "A lot of times our kids can't travel to be able to go back and forth to the library because of the roads and not have transportation . S o this allows us to put books in their hands because what we know in research is that every single summer when kids don't read they decrease in their reading ability," said Middleton.

      The other grant is $1,200 which will buy students clothes, shoes, school supplies and hygiene products for those who can not afford it.

      "We are giving more for special needs for emergency needs because the funds are not there and as we all know even next year budgets will be cut more , " said Stevenson.

      Each year, teachers apply for the grants through essays. Then the Foundation picks the winners. The money comes from your donations throughout the year, and these educators could not be more thankful.

      "Crucial, because if we don't have that money than we can't put those books in their hands, because at this time of the year we are out of money," said Middleton.

      Since 1993, the Foundation has given 465 grants totaling over $777,000.