Four local community projects are getting a funding boost through the Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group’s Learning and Engagement Accelerator Fund (LEAF).

$1 million is going to 21 community projects in Ontario to help upgrade, update and build facilities and programming where communities come together to learn, share, play and gather.

The projects are the result of an online nomination and submission process that was completed in December, the initiative’s final 2021 allocation.

The Parry Sound Public Library Kids Portal’s Escape into Knowledge program is getting funding to complete fundraising for an early learning STEM aligned touch screen device. 

According to the Group’s website, the project includes “a unique visual entrance, highlighting Northern Ontario culture”.

In addition, the project includes literacy play tools to help children acquire a firm foundation of general knowledge and allow them to become successful readers. 

The support will allow the library to purchase All-in-One Early Literacy Computer Stations. These stations are designed for children ages 2-8 and come pre-loaded with 75+ award-winning learning activities.

The funding will allow the library to educate children not only in literacy and math skills but also in computer and technology skills. 

The programs are STREAM-aligned and include everything from cyber safety and coding to handwriting and reading. 

In addition, Parry Sound’s The Drop is getting funding to support a community hub for youth including counseling and other services.

According to the project’s section on the L.E.A.F. website the project, the Drop project’s primary goal is to establish a year-round, inclusive, permanent space for youth in the Town of Parry Sound. 

The program currently operates Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 to 6:30 pm so that youth who live outside of town may access it directly after school. 

The funding will help the volunteer-based service expand the program to every weekday and/or longer hours. 

Beyond establishing a permanent space, the funding will also help with the Drop’s on-the-go program which provides community outreach through local programming directed at outlying communities, such as McDougall, McKellar, Nobel, and Dunchurch.