Special to The Explorer

The Oro Valley Community Foundation has made grants to two student-focused programs and a third award to an effort promoting public safety.

Grants to the Oro Valley Kiwanis Club's "Kids in Need" program, the forensics program at Canyon Del Oro High School, and the Oro Valley Fraternal Order of Police "RAD Systems" and "RAD Kids" are part of the foundation's fall 2010 grants program.

"These grants reflect our efforts to seek and provide resources that contribute to improving the quality of life for all our citizens," said Dick Eggerding, president of the foundation. "We are constantly assessing the needs of the community."

"Kids in Need," sponsored by Oro Valley Kiwanis, assists disadvantaged youngsters. Twice a year, 100-plus adult volunteers and some 60 high school students take children shopping to buy $125 in new clothes. Students receive another $50 in donations for school supplies, a haircut and breakfast.

This fall, children in grades 2-5 at Keeling Elementary School were chosen by the school principal and staff based on need, and by their school attendance and efforts to excel.

"The students are shown that if they are motivated, persistent and willing to work hard, they can go to college and be successful," said Alex Heinze, president of the Oro Valley Kiwanis club. "We get our feedback in the faces of the children and the thank-you cards they send."

The program has been in effect since 1987, mainly serving students in the Amphitheater School District.

CDO's crime scene investigations program is so popular with high schoolers that students have been turned away from packed classes. The course has rigorous requirements, among them completed classes in physics, chemistry and biology. Officers from the Oro Valley Police Department work with the students and faculty.

OVPD officer Shawn Benjamin said the course teaches many different aspects of forensics.

"They not only learn how to process a crime scene but how to analyze evidence in a laboratory setting," Benjamin said. "The students have to use critical thinking skills throughout many aspects of the curriculum."

Community professionals serve as guest speakers and expert instructors, helping students see "the practical applications of what they are learning," Benjamin said. The CDO CSI program began in 2007.

In RAD Systems and RAD Kids classes, families learn how to stop rape, assault and violence against women and children. The grant covers new training and equipment used in the programs.

Final 2010 Oro Valley Community Foundation grants are being made in December. All grant requests from non-profit groups must be turned in by Nov. 15, a release said. Grant applications and the requirements can be found at www.orovalleycf.org. All applicants for grants must be IRS-authorized non-profits.

The Oro Valley Community Foundation is a nonprofit community organization created by and for the people of the region. It was established to meet the needs of people in Oro Valley and Northwest Tucson in the areas of youth and education, social services and the arts and sciences, a release said.

Donations are tax-deductible. They can be sent to OVCF, 2250 E. Broadway Blvd., Tucson, 85719. People may also call 520-547-5954 to receive more information.

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