Boost for Teachers/Mentors Award

by Grant Roberts Area Disability Supports

The Grant Roberts Area Disability Supports group is pleased to be offering the Boost for Teacher incentive for the third year. Please share this information with your staff. Deadlines are as follows:

Tuesday, January 2nd, Boost for Teacher Announcement 

Friday, February 16th, Boost for Teacher Applications are due.

Friday, February 23rd, the GRADS Board will review applications.

Thursday, Leap Year! February 29th, 2024 Boost for Teacher/Mentors Winner(s) will be announced.

Winners will be expected to submit a paragraph/short summary by May 10, 2024.

Please copy, paste, and fill out the six questions below and email your responses to: 

or mail it to: Mary Lou Bullert, 47822 158th Street, La Bolt, SD 57246

Overview: GRADS, is awarding $100 Boosts to MS/HS teachers, mentors, speech therapist, occupational therapist, and/or guidance counselors who are providing instruction in the area of job skills, self-help skills, communication skills, socialization, working with money, meal preparation and/or empowerment to students with disabilities in the Grant Roberts area. We know teachers/mentors invest much of their own time and money into classroom activities and would like to recognize their efforts. With that in mind and in the spirit of National Disabilities Employment Awareness, one hundred dollar checks will be directly awarded to the winning applicants on Leap Year Thursday, February 29th, 2024. Proposals may be submitted from now until the deadline of February 16th, 2024. 

Target Audience: 

The target group is MS/HS students with special needs and adults who are being mentored because of a disability. This may include individuals who are involved in job skill training, independent living, have communication needs, need support in the area of mental health, physical fitness, or those who are approaching a transitional phase in their education or adults within the community who receive mentoring services. 


Teachers/mentors who are selected for the Boost for Teachers Awards will need to submit a paragraph/short summary of their project by Friday, May 10th, 2024. The summary will be posted on our website. 


1. Is this for a specific individual need or for a group?

2. How many individuals with disabilities will benefit from your proposal? 

3. If applicable, estimate how many individuals without disabilities will be included in your activity. For example, the activity may be done in an inclusion setting.

4. A brief explanation of how you will utilize the $100 (one hundred) to assist individuals who have a disability and are acquiring job skills, self-help skills, communication skills, mental health, physical fitness, socialization, working with money, meal preparation and/or empowerment, such as using public transportation. (1 page or less) 

5. Budget: Please identify how the one hundred dollars will be utilized. This could be an estimate for materials to facilitate your activity. Applicants may use funds to purchase items for their use and the target individuals. For example, funds could be used to pay for both the mentor and target individual to use public transportation, purchase tickets to an event, buy food, or materials for a classroom project. Activities, like Special Olympics, are acceptable.

6. Submit this form on or before Friday, February 16th, 2024. 

GRADS fundraiser brings in over $800 for the local food pantry.

The GRADS pick-a-prize raffle raised over $800 with the proceeds benefiting the Milbank Food Pantry. Winners include: Jodi Dale, JoAnn Tillman, Sarah Weinberg, Mary Bjordahl, Gloria Boos, Merna Howard, Natasha Karels, Cindy Pillatzki, and Kim Eisenschenk.

Check out our news coverage on The Valley Express website.

GRADS Meeting Minutes November 9, 2023

Middlebrook Community Room 6:30 p.m.

Six people were present at the Grant Roberts Area Disability Supports meeting.

Boost for Teachers and Mentors

MaryLou Bullert presented the proposal for 2024. It is included with these minutes. The timeline includes: January 2, 2024-Announcements are sent out.

February 16, 2024-Applications are due.

February 29, 2024- Winners are announced.

Pick-a-Prize Raffle

MaryLou Bullert has organized a pick-a-prize fundraiser. She demonstrated how this fun raffle works. This local project will be started after Thanksgiving with the prize boxes and tickets at The Bank Coffee Shop in Milbank.


Laura Maag from LifeQuest has requested funding from GRADS to pay for gas for out-of-town recreational events. The group plans to attend “The Birthday Club”, a play in Watertown, as well as to make a visit to the Redlin Art Center. Laura will submit a bill for reimbursement.

Laura Maag expressed concern that transportation costs to and from work will no longer be covered by the Department of Social Services. This greatly impacts individuals with disabilities who travel to their jobs.

NDEAM Review

Rachael Johnson shared the evaluation of the National Disability Employment Awareness Month event in Sisseton held on October 5, 2023. She requested input from the group for the upcoming debriefing meeting in December. Suggestions included expanding the event by inviting other schools to attend. Perhaps Milbank could host an event, too.


Diane Stewart requested information to add to the upcoming Grant County Arc News. We want to include a big THANK YOU to Arc for helping to sponsor the NDEAM event. We also thank Diane for including GRADS information in the newsletter.

Special Olympics

A request was made for for funding for motel costs for adult participants attending the next bowling tournament. We will discuss this again at the January 2024 meeting.

Financial Report

The checking account balance in First Savings and Trust in Milbank was $3,810.13 on September 29, 2023.

Next Meeting

The January 11, 2024 GRADS meeting will be via ZOOM at 6:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Rachael Johnson

GRADS Secretary/Treasurer

GRADS Board Meeting Minutes

GRADS Meeting September 14, 2023

Middlebrook Community Room 6:30 p.m.

Four members attended the Grant Roberts Area Disability Supports meeting.


Rachael Johnson handed out invitations and posters to be distributed in the Milbank/Big Stone City area. Other invites have been sent and posters have been placed in Sisseton, Agency Village and Peever. Ads have been placed in The Grant County Review, the Sisseton Courier, the Arc Newsletter, GRADS website, Facebook, and community calendars in Milbank and Sisseton. The catered meal will be provided by Bobby Jo’s, and the venue will be Family Life Center in Sisseton. The speaker will be Daniel Card from Think 3D Solutions in Sioux Falls, SD. The date is set for Thursday, October 5 and dinner will be served at 6:00 with the program to follow.

ADA Celebration Review

Rachael read the ADA review. One suggestion was to have more fun Bingo prizes. We send a special thanks to Char’s brother and grandson for providing and leading the Bingo game. Thrivent provided funds for the food and Bingo prizes.

Financial Report

Rachael Johnson reported that we received $267.95 from the benefit rummage sale in July.

Next Meeting

The next GRADS meeting will be on Thursday, November 9, 2023 at the Middlebrook Community Room, 902 E. Milbank Avenue, Milbank at 6:30 p.m. We will discuss Boost for Teachers for January of 2024.

Respectfully submitted,

Rachael Johnson

GRADS Secretary/Treasurer

GRADS Meeting Minutes July 15, 2023

Middlebrook Community Room 11:30 a.m.

Three people were present for the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) celebration planning session. Rachael has received a Thrivent Action Team grant to pay for Subway sandwiches and some supplies. She will check with Subway on prices and will order the sandwiches before our event. Rachael, Char, MaryLou, & Diane S. will bring bars. Char will make coffee and lemonade. She has already purchased chips. We will all bring Bingo prizes and Char will get the Bingo game.We will use tablecloths on dessert and regestration tables. Vases with flowers will be on guest tables.Tentatively our speakers will be Char Athey (GRADS), Laura Maag (LifeQuest), Diane Stewart (Grant County Arc), Rachael Johnson (Voc Rehab), Amanda Peterson or Lana Smith (ILC) and Mayor Rafety (city of Milbank). MaryLou Bullert will be our MC. Rachael will put news stories in the Sisseton Courier, The Grant County Review and The Valley Shopper. She will ask Cheryl P. to place information prominenly on the GRADS website. Char will make and distribute posters. Rachael will send an email to GRADS as a reminder of this event. Katrina has sent letters out and has RSVPs from 11. We will need to be at the Milbank Visitor Center before 5:00 p.m. on July 31 to set up. We will serve food from 6-6:30, have speakers, and play Bin