Friday, December 13, 2013

So much positivity

Wow, time has gotten away from me. The first week of this (December) month, we had an assembly. It was recommended to me by two of my STUCO girls who had seen the group at a 4H conference. The assembly was put on by a group called Project Elevate. They were amazing! It is usually a group of five that put on each assembly. There are videos, dancing, crowd interaction, testimonials/speaking, loud music, dancing and lots of silliness all within an hour. The kids totally loved it. These young men completely reached out students, grades 7-12th. It was all about making positive decisions, treating others with kindness, anti-bullying, anti-drugs and many more things.
I can't believe I haven't posted anything since October! Afterward, some of our students hung around while the guys were tearing down to leave. Some were there to just take pictures. Others were there to talk. Students really opened up, felt comfortable talking to these guys! These guys had never been to our school and the students didn't know any of them. It was amazing. Through the talking/testimonials and video stories, things that these young men said really reached some of our students and they wanted to talk to these guys about it! This week has been almost as exciting! I attended a training at our state's Regional Food Bank. While there we also got to tour the facility and learn about it's operation. It's amazing to thing that a warehouse the size of a Sam's Club, stocked full of food is emptied every week to go throughout our state to feed hungry people. The Food Bank is run entirely by volunteers (other than the skeleton staff that are permanent and there on a daily basis.) The STUCO had mentioned conducting a food drive. However, after doing some research I found that those didn't go over well. After calling the food bank and looking at all our options we decided to open a food pantry for our school. The Regional Food Bank sponsors Backpacks for Kids for those elementary students who might not have enough food. Backpacks are filled and go home one Friday with food for the weekend since students won't be in school to eat breakfast and lunch there. The backpacks are meant for the individual student but, it is a known fact that the students share with their entire family. Once out of elementary our students don't have any assistance. A food pantry allows MS/HS students to receive the same food service for the weekend. It will be housed in our building in a secure location. Students will be identified or referred by staff and could be a permanent or temporary situation. Students are made aware of what is available and either are told when the pantry will be open to come choose their food or they choose what they'd like to have from a list and their supply is gathered and bagged for them to pick up. I am thrilled to be a part of the ground breaking on this! STUCO will still play a huge part in that they will help stock the pantry when the food comes in each month. Who is being served, as well as the pick up, will be confidential. What a wonderful feeling to know that students in our district will not be going hungry, no matter what their grade. The same day that I went to this training I returned to school for the remainder of the day. After school I took four girls from STUCO (that is all that could attend due to work, ball games and recitals), to our local Wal-Mart. One of our local youth services organizations gave us a debit card and 18 kids names (Angel cards as they were called). Each student and I took cards with kids ages, gender, sizes, likes and needs and shopped for them for Christmas. We had $80-90 to spend on each kiddo. The girls had a great time! They got so excited learning what their kids wanted and then trying to find things. It wasn't easy, many things were the needed size, but wrong color, or just too expensive! The girls stacked things in groups on the conveyor belt and bagged items with each Angel's assigned number on the outside. They got very excited to see the total we'd spent. They quickly whipped out their phones and took pictures of the grand total (over $1,600). We shopped for about 1 1/2 hours then went to eat. For some reason we ate at the slowest restaurant in our town (LOL). Afterward we got frozen yogurt. After it was all finished it was after 9 p.m. when I returned home! What a long, but amazing day! Though we shopped for 18 kids I wasn't sure we made even a dent in the number. We were told there were 63 kids to buy for. One of the STUCO girls game in to my office today to get the contact's name. She said she was going to call to see if she could go shop for some more kids. Amazing!

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