By Robert Tomlinson
THREE RIVERS — Three Rivers Area Mentoring (TRAM) got a significant financial contribution last week from an Indiana-based agriculture company.
On Tuesday, Jan. 3, Lennard Ag Company, based in Howe, Ind., donated $10,000 to the program, which pairs Three Rivers-area students with adult or high school-age mentors to help with schoolwork, reading and more.
“I am floored by this. It was some great holiday news for us,” TRAM Executive Director Todd Bannon said. “We’re thrilled that we have this large sum of money come in and supporting our program. It would be a big part of our income for this year.”
Bannon said 100 percent of the donation will go to TRAM’s program costs, which include paying staff, food, supplies, paying for field trips, and more.
Stefani Lennard, owner of Lennard Ag, said she donated because of their company’s belief in giving back to the community.
“We wanted to keep it local, we wanted it to go somewhere we know it’s affecting people that need it. We set my girls down and said we’d like to donate to a few organizations and to come to the table with ideas, and this is one of the ones we chose,” Lennard said. “My heart is with kids, and I know that there’s a lot of kids that need positive role models. This is a great program to help kids that need it.”
Lennard said herself and her daughter had been mentors with the program as well, having volunteered for TRAM just before the COVID-19 pandemic. Lennard herself was a teacher for 15 years at Mason Consolidated Schools in Monroe County.
“A few years ago, we wanted to get the girls involved in trying to find some volunteer work in the area, and we were looking to do Big Brothers Big Sisters or something, and when I was trying to Google something like that, TRAM popped up,” Lennard said. “It was only a handful of times because we got busy with spring sports, and then that was the year COVID hit and life shut down.”
Bannon said he’s glad donations like this help support their cause.
“I think Three Rivers has shown they support the work TRAM has been doing in the community,” Bannon said. “We’ve been out there at the Water Festival, HarmonyFest, we’ve had open houses, and we go to the school’s open houses as well and their parent-teacher conferences to remind them we’re here. I think this shows the community remembers TRAM and is glad we’re back and appreciates the work we’re doing for the students here in Three Rivers.”
Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 or firstname.lastname@example.org.