WINNEBAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — Some stateline teachers got a financial boost to help them out in the classroom.

The six “Mini Grants” that were awarded will allow the teachers to complete special projects. The Community Foundation of Northern Illinois teamed up with the local Zeta chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International.

The group is made up of current and former female educators in Winnebago and Boone Counties. Their goal is to assist those in the classroom with funding to help them teach in new, fun and interactive ways.

“Students who are having a hard time, you know, just verbally talking, to be able to use some of these games and activities to make it a more comfortable setting,” said Katie McKinney, counselor at Winnebago Middle School.

McKinney is one of six recipients of a “DKG Mini Grant.” The funding will help her create new ways of working with students.

“I was excited because I am always looking for fun ways to help the kids, especially at this time of year, cause they are all kind of burnt out, so I find that play therapy is a good way to engage them and talk about their feelings and things like that,” McKinney said.

Jennifer Smith, engagement director for the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois, said that the grants help take some financial pressure off of the teachers.

“Any sort of special project that they just need a little extra financial support,” Smith said. “We’ve all seen those teachers who spend a lot of their own money on supplies and things like that, so this helps cover a little bit of that grant.”

“A lot of different ways to reach and teach these kids, so I think it is awesome we have this available,” McKinney added. “Something that we want to try, something that we want to do, you can apply and get some more funds to do that.”

Each grant is worth up to $250. Recipients received their grants thanks to Blanche Martin and Lana Smith, who were both teachers in the community.

They have now passed away, but their estates helped fund this year’s grants.

“It’s pretty amazing that these teachers who are no longer with us, their legacy is carried forward and doing great things in the classroom,” Smith said.

“I work with them from sixth to eighth grade, so it’s really awesome to see the growth and the maturity that happens over those years,” McKinney added.

The Community Foundation of Northern Illinois offers other grants to teachers as well. More information can be found on their website.