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Grand Cities Children's Choir donates to fund that expands access to mental health services for K-12 students

Students from every Grand Forks public school have received counseling services through the Access for All Scholarship Fund, administered by the Grand Forks Foundation for Education.

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Grand Cities Children's Choir members Miranda Bry (left) and Ava Hager perform a duet "Somewhere," from West Side Story, in the choir's Dessert Cabaret earlier this year. Proceeds of from the event were donated to the Access for All Scholarship Fund to help more K-12 students access counseling services. Both Bry and Hager will be sophomores at Grand Forks Central High School this fall.
Photo by Monica Danielson
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GRAND FORKS – The Grand Cities Children’s Choir has donated $2,000 to a fund that provides access to mental health and counseling services for students in grades K-12 in the Grand Forks school system.

The donation was presented recently to Emilia Hodgson, executive director of the Grand Forks Education Foundation, for the Access for All Scholarship Fund, which was established in 2015 with an initial gift from the Gaukler Family Foundation.

This is the only scholarship program of its kind that is administered by the Grand Forks Education Foundation, Hodgson said.

“And we are very grateful to the Gaukler family for setting it up,” she said.

The program benefits students and their families who do not have access to counseling services from other, more traditional, health care providers, she said.

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Students from every public school in Grand Forks have received services through the Access for All scholarship program. Students who need assistance with counseling services are referred by their school counselors to receive low-cost services at the Northern Plains Community Clinic at UND.

The clinic provides mental health, speech, language and hearing services to all members of the community, regardless of ability to pay.

The Access for All scholarship program “has been quite beneficial for our students and their families,” Hodgson said. “We are always accepting donations for this program, and every gift has an immediate impact for these families.”

The program “has definitely been used quite a bit more since COVID happened,” as children and families experienced more stress in the ongoing pandemic, said Hodgson.

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Emilia Hodgson (center), executive director of the Grand Forks Foundation for Education, received a symbolic check recently from Miranda Bry (left) and Ava Hager for the Access for All Scholarship Fund at the Mark Sanford Education Center, headquarters of Grand Forks Public Schools.
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The Grand Cities Children’s Choir raised the funds for the Access for All program at its annual cabaret performance earlier this year, said Melanie Popejoy, GCCC founder and artistic director.

In past annual performances, the Grand Cities Children’s Choir also raised funds for the Back Pack program, which is conducted by the Northlands Rescue Mission, and to support the family of Jonah Borth, a GCCC member, after his death a few years ago.

At this year’s concert, Popejoy and GCCC assistant directors Amy DeWitt and Jack Boyer directed the choir in large group, duet and solo numbers. Amy Hahn provided the costumes.

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Related Topics: MENTAL HEALTH
Pamela Knudson is a features and arts/entertainment writer for the Grand Forks Herald.

She has worked for the Herald since 2011 and has covered a wide variety of topics, including the latest performances in the region and health topics.

Pamela can be reached at pknudson@gfherald.com or (701) 780-1107.
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