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Trees of Hope: Young Athletes Foundation Offers Grants/Scholarships

December 19, 2017 06:11 AM

When you think of Grandma's Marathon, you think of running. But their charitable arm, the Young Athletes Foundation, focuses on activity of all kinds.

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Through scholarships and grants, the YAF helps young people stay healthy, safe, and fit in many ways.

Chester Bowl is a recipient of grant money. They were able to purchase 120 helmets last year, to help protect the heads of their young skiers. "All the kids wear them here. It's a culture we are creating," explained Dave Schaeffer, Executive Director of the Chester Bowl Improvement Club. "At Chester Bowl, we are like zombies. We love brains. Unlike zombies, we want to protect them."

They want everyone to feel safe and welcome on their family friendly hill. And the grant enabled them to purchase those helmets, which in turn helps keep the costs for skiers down. "As a non-profit, we rely on outside agencies who care about our community to help our mission happen," Schaeffer added.

Speaking of skiing, the Korkki Nordic Ski Center nestled up off the Homestead Road offers both cross-country and biathlon loops. 

"We have 10 kilometers of trails, plus the new biathlon loop, which is 2 kilometers," explained Mark Helmer, Executive Director. He and Charlie Banks opened Korkki back in 1992.

Thanks to a grant from the YAF, Korkki was able to purchase the targets and shooting mats that are needed for biathlon. "We installed it two weeks ago. It's already in use. Kids are shooting already," Helmer said. He's hopeful more young people want to get involved in this unique sport.

"Anyone can come out and ski for free. I leave the club house open, and people can come and go," he added.

And of course, the YAF helps runners do their thing. Scholarships helped pay for the entry fees for kids from Northwoods Children's Services in Duluth, who wanted to run the half marathon.

The YAF is the final non-profit in the WDIO/WIRT and HOM Furniture Trees of Hope Campaign.


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