Music, acupuncture, tae kwon do and yoga are all programs that have garnered a lot of student interest at Belfast’s alternative high school in recent years.

Now with the help of the Maine Community Foundation and the Ira Cobe Scholarship Fund, those programs will continue to serve students at Belfast Community Outreach Program in Education, also known as BCOPE.

MCF Waldo County Fund Committee Chair MIke Nickerson presented BCOPE Program Director Gary Skigen and RSU 20 Superintendent Bruce Mailloux with a check for just over $6,700 to help defray the costs of continuing the programs. The programs, said Skigen, are described in the grant application as alternative health-related courses. Most of the programs are heading into their fourth year of operation.

One requirement for an MCF grant is that a school has the support of its district, and Skigen said BCOPE has had it from day one.

“We would not have these programs without Bruce [Mailloux’s] support, or without [Belfast Area High School Principal] Butch Arthers’,” said Skigen.

The alternative health programs — and particularly obtaining the grant funding used to support them — are also made possible in large part by the support of RSU 20 Health Coordinator Linda Hartkopf, whom Skigen said has been instrumental in the grant-writing process each year.

In speaking with Nickerson about the future availability of grant funds, given the current recession and the ongoing trend of state and federal money disappearing from school district coffers, Skigen expressed concern that the district may be too financially strapped to lend its support to the programs in the coming years.

But, Nickerson said MCF officials are aware of the challenges schools and local organizations are facing, and he encouraged Skigen to apply next year, even if there is no matching funding available from the district.

“We’re hoping to be in the right place with the right people so we will be able to continue the work that we’re doing here,” said Skigen.