Ex-FLDS children attending school for 1st time need clothing; donations, grants

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SOUTHERN UTAH – A local need has been recognized as children leave the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints community and are in need of school clothes to attend public school for the first time.

The Three Corners Women’s Giving Circle is a women’s organization composed of diverse local women who combine their friendship, intellects and resources to effect change for women and girls in the “three corners region” of Southern Utah, northwest Arizona and Mesquite, Nevada.

The organization is accepting grant applications from nonprofit groups that offer programs and projects for women and girls in these areas.

In 2013 and 2014 , by vote of the membership, the giving circle granted a total of $25,000 to local nonprofits, including the Assistance League of Southern Utah, Erin Kimball Foundation, The Learning Center for Families and the Doctors’ Volunteer Clinic.

Local children in need of school clothes

Debbie Justice, soon-to-be-retiring executive director of The Learning Center for Families, has started a fund to provide school clothes for children from the Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona, area who will be attending public school for the first time this year.

“Last week, I was able to connect one family with 15 children – who had never been to public school – with the Assistance League, who outfitted them with school clothes, shoes and school supplies,” Justice said. “As you can imagine, word got out, and I am being inundated with requests for help with school clothes for children who will all be going to school for the first time in their lives. The Assistance League cannot clothe all these kids! They need to share their resources with children all over the district.”

Shirlee Draper, a local woman who left the Hildale/Colorado City FLDS community, has started a GoFundMe page for the cause.

“I have always believed that education is the key to helping that community long term,” Justice said. “Lately, a lot of the FLDS families I have known for years are being expelled from their church – thus their homes. Rather than leave, they are fleeing in place. They are moving into the homes controlled by the state, paying the monthly fee and standing their ground. The first thing they want to do is get their kids a proper education. No more home-schooling.”

Also, those who wish to donate may donate directly to the Assistance League and specify the donation is for the Water Canyon area.

Nonprofit grant

On Monday, the Three Corners Women’s Giving Circle grant application for the January 2016 grant awards will be posted and can be downloaded online. All other details of the application process can be found in the application document on the website.

The Three Corners Women’s Giving Circle is proud to be a fund of The Community Foundation of Utah. Through philanthropic involvement, the giving circle empowers women and girls in the region by funding projects and programs in the areas of safety, health, education, economic advancement and leadership.

The Three Corners Women’s Giving Circle holds four meetings per year and welcomes new members.

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