When Ken Shields (right) of the Virginia City Elks Lodge, showed ECCS students the $3,500 Elks check for preschool improvements, they didn’t think it looked like money. (R. Colyer)

ECCS receives $3,500 grant from Elks Lodge

Funds will acquire flooring, roof, playground works

ENNIS—Ennis Community Children’s’ School was the recipient of a $3,500 grant last week that will help with several projects, including a remodel of the preschool’s playground.

The donation came from the Virginia City Elks Lodge #390 on Thursday, February 21, where young students watched as Elks treasurer Ken Shields presented the check to the school’s staff.

“This doesn’t really look like money, does it?” Sheilds asked the students, holding up the check. “But it represents money, and it’s going to help put a new playground outside!” 

That earned cheers from the whole student body. The money will also help to renovate ECCS’s roof and floors.

 “Our Lodge was pleased to present ECCS this donation towards replacing the school’s flooring and roof,” said Shields after presenting the check. “ECCS’s service to community families is greatly appreciated by the Elks.”

ECCS has been planning improvements to its playground for nearly a year, with plans to turn it into a new Outdoor Learning Environment (OLE). As a participant in the Montana STARS program, which provides guidelines to help facilitate the best possible early childhood development, the school realized its current outdoor space didn’t provide all the appropriate learning activities that facilitate development of children under age 7.

The renovation will ensure that all ECCS students can access activities that are both entertaining and developmentally beneficial. The plan is to install a play structure with slides, a balancing board, a rock wall and monkey bars, and a separate outdoor musical instrument area. All the additions promote both cognitive and motor skills in young children. 

In addition to the ECCS donation, the Virginia City Elks Lodge #390 has been a longtime supporter of the Thompson-Hickman Madison County Library playground, the Virginia City ball park, the Virginia City ice rink, Jackson’s Garden in Sheridan, the Sheridan VFW Post and the Virginia City Rural Fire Department. 

“The donations to those organizations come from the State and National Associations,” reported Virginia City Elks grant writer, Micki Benedict.

The Virginia City lodge hosts a number of community and holiday events, has nearly 150 members and also provides scholarships to local students.

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The Madisonian

65 N. MT Hwy 287
Ennis, MT 59729

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