Seven Oakland County non-profit and community groups to share over $10,600 in Brooksie Way Minigrant

An online yoga program for people with multiple sclerosis, a snowshoe program for special needs students and a monthly dance program for people with Parkinson’s disease are among seven organizations that will share more than $10,600 in Brooksie Way Minigrants.
Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced the winners at a sponsor reception held Wednesday, September 23 at the Rochester Mills Production Brewery in Auburn Hills. 
“These minigrants continue to make an impact in the community, often funding programs that otherwise vanish without this vital support,” Patterson said. “This important program would not happen without the generous support of our sponsors and the runners and walkers who make the HAP Brooksie Way and our family of races so successful.”
The program awards minigrants of up to $2,000 to non-for profits organizations and community groups three times a year. It has helped support approximately 125 projects that promote healthy and active lifestyles and fitness programming in the county. Since it began in 2010, more than $166,000 in Brooksie Way minigrants has been distributed.
Support from HAP and other sponsors help fund the minigrant program. Organizations that will share more than $10,600 in minigrant funding are:
·       Easter Seals of Michigan, Auburn Hills, will operate a twice-weekly yoga program for mental health and substance abuse patients to speed the recovery process. The funds will be used to pay for an instructor’s salary and needed yoga mats and blocks.
·       Euro-Peds Foundation, Pontiac, offers specialized physical therapy for children with special needs. The grant will purchase physical therapy equipment.
·       Madison Heights Youth Assistance will use the award to pay the entry fees 20-30 at-risk children whose families cannot afford to enroll them in extracurricular fitness activities offered through the local schools, parks and recreation and local sports leagues and for equipment.
·       Oakland Livingston Human Services Agency, Pontiac, will create Gardens to Go, a community garden filled with herbs and greens and tended to by Head Start children. The bounty will be offered at other Head Start locations.
·       Pepper Elementary School, Oak Park, will offer Snowshoe Adventure to teach special education students to snowshoe and those students will then teach a non-special education peer the skill.
·       Take Root, Inc., a Birmingham-based professional dance company, offers Dance for Parkinson’s disease, a series of classes for people with the disease. The program is near capacity and the funds will be used to help train new instructors.
·       Yoga Moves MS of Franklin plans to create three videos using students who have mobility challenges such as using a cane, walker or wheelchair and show them demonstrating poses, making yoga accessible to all.
The HAP Brooksie Way has become one of the most popular regional fall half marathons. The course begins and ends at the Meadow Brook Amphitheatre (formerly known as the Meadow Brook Music Festival) on the campus of Oakland University and includes parts of the Clinton River and Paint Creek trails, Rochester Hills and downtown Rochester.
Patterson started the minigrant program as a way to put proceeds from the HAP Brooksie Way Half Marathon back into the community. The Brooksie Way races, which include 10k, 5k and several children’s races, were named in honor of Brooks Stuart Patterson, a young married father and the son of the county executive, who died after a snowmobiling accident in 2007.
The popular Lil’ Brooksie Kid’s Race is sponsored by Fifth Third Bank. Kroger, the official half marathon sponsor, offers race applications in all Michigan stores. The 10k race sponsor is Dell and the 5k race is sponsored by First Merit Bank. Genisys Credit Union is the sponsor of the charity program.