Ten local service groups and non-profit programs will each receive at least $5,000 in federal funding in the coming year, as the City Council of Big Bear Lake approved the designation of Community Development Block Grant funds, which are administered by San Bernardino County. The city’s funding allocation is just over $30,000 this year but, coupled with unused funds of years past, Council had over $52,000 in federal funds available for CDBG distribution at their meeting of February 23. Most of the applicants appeared before Council to make a plea for their programs, and thank Council for funding designation in years past. Among those making heart-felt pleas were community members involved in the Big Bear Library’s literacy program. Literacy specialist Marta Neely, joined by both tutors and those who have benefited from the program, stressed the importance of English literacy. Norma Savala, a mother of three who has been in the literacy program for three years, told Council, “We want to help our kids, and be members of this community.” Other programs to receive CDBG funding benefit families in our community and those include the Healthy Start children’s counseling services through BVUSD; school supplies and tuition scholarships for children through the Hummingbird Project; in-home therapy and parent support through DOVES (which Director Kathi Harper says has received many more calls, given economic stressors); gardening education through the Lighthouse Project; and free parenting classes offered through the MOM Project, which is also open to dads. Noted MOM Project Director Marilyn Vecchio, “Our goal is to nurture physically and emotionally healthy families.” Seniors will also benefit from CDBG funds, as these will also go toward the senior nutrition and meal program offered twice a week through the Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District; and the senior outreach and food distribution programs offered through Lutheran Social Services. And though CDBG funds generally go to programs, this year’s surplus of funds allowed for City Council to also include a special project by the Recreation and Park District, which plans to develop a handicap accessible playground at Swim Beach at Meadow Park’s west end. The U.S. Adaptive Recreation Center is also receiving funding for their therapeutic water sports programs this year, prompting Councilmember Liz Harris to comment, “I’m pleased we have as much as we do, so everyone who has requested funds can get funds, so we don’t have to choose our favorite children.”