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Sierra Expeditionary Learning School is a Pepsi Refresh Everything grant finalist

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    Ben Smith

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Two local groups are December finalists for a chance at grants in the Pepsi Refresh Everything competition: Sierra Expeditionary Learning School and Zipped in Love.

Sierra Expeditionary Learning School (SELS) is up against 307 other organizations competing to win $250,000 (awarded to the two finalists with the most votes). SELS is a public charter school under TTUSD, currently serving grades K-5. SELS focuses on hands-on learning, peer support, character education, and community and environmental projects to encourage a lifelong love of learning. The money would be used for facility improvements and a down payment for a permanent site. SELS is currently in portables outside the Sierra Mountain Community Education Center.

Zipped in Love is four teenage girls from Truckee: Katey Hamill, Wendy Whitely, Taylor Fiddyment and Courtney Pomeroy whose goal is to create care packages to help the homeless. Each Zipped in Love care package consists of food, water, a flashlight, clean socks, a rain poncho and basic hygiene items like toothbrushes and bandages. Last year, the girls used their own money to provide 300 care packages for distribution. Zipped in Love is competing for a $5,000 grant, which each of the top 10 finalists receive.

In 2010 Pepsi decided to use the money they would have spent on Super Bowl ads to start the Refresh Everything campaign, giving away more than $1 million in grants each month. Of thousands who apply, Pepsi accepts 1,000 total entries that fall into one of four grant categories, $5,000, $25,000, $50,000 and $250,000. Once accepted, the ideas are voted on by the public for one month. You can vote for 10 different ideas each day.

These small organizations are up against very big ones. Take action an come together to vote daily and spread the word. Voting has just started for December: There is a chance to gain ground. Visit www.refresheverything.com to register and vote. Once registered, search in the upper right field for Sierra Expeditionary Learning School and Zipped in Love. Please take a few minutes each day in December to vote for the good of the community. Thanks.

Please visit the Sierra Expeditionary Learning School website here