Spirit of Giving
This month many of our School Outreach Coordinators wanted to share their stories supporting families in need this Thanksgiving. Shana Ludwig, our School Outreach Coordinator at Decatur High School, was excited to share her experience collaborating with her fellow Outreach Coordinators at TAF@ Saghalie and Lakota Middle School. The group came together to provide Thanksgiving Holiday support preparing boxes of food and supplies to our students and their families. Shana’s mother additionally volunteered her time to help the team organize the food items that were donated. Two National Guards Men joined in the spirit of giving, volunteering to drive their van to bring the food and supplies to our office. “This was a moment where our community alongside us made it possible for our students to be supported this thanksgiving season,” remarked Shana.
Our School Outreach Coordinators have been working tirelessly to find ways to support our families in need this holiday season. Thank you to all of our community partners who have contributed to bringing joy and support to so many of our families in need this Thanksgiving. Another thank you goes out to our local community members who have made contributions to our Holiday Assistance Funds. Gina Forest, our School Outreach Coordinator at Federal Way High School, was overjoyed to report her success fundraising. Gina set a goal to support 40 families at Federal Way High School and has received tremendous support from the community to make her goal a reality. Together our School Outreach Coordinators in Federal Way and Highline served 188 families with over $10,000 worth of food, supplies, and gift cards for Thanksgiving!
Another of our School Outreach Coordinators, Makenna Lester at Kilo Middle School, helped coordinate a drive-through Thanksgiving meal box pickup for Kilo families in need. The boxes included a turkey, canned goods, and fresh grocery items. Thanks to our community partner, Christ the King Bible Fellowship, Makena was able to support 14 Kilo families this Thanksgiving! Thomas Jefferson School Outreach Coordinator, Amber Rowe Mosley, also worked to provide families with Thanksgiving meal support. Partnering with Mr. Springfield, a Thomas Jefferson teacher, they delivered Thanksgiving meals all over the Puget Sound region this month. They wanted to meet families where they are at, as many families have been displaced outside the school district due to hard financial times.
Scholar Voice Collaborative
Our School Outreach Coordinator, Alexis Jordan at Totem Middle School, led her Scholar Voice Collaborative group in a discussion on, “students not having their cameras on during class”. The group had a lengthy talk on the topic and brought good insights and fostered better understanding around why some students may need to have their cameras turned off. Alexis can’t wait until her scholar representatives can present these findings to their Principal Scholar Advisory. After the discussion concluded, the group played a fun game called, “Name that Candy Bar” with the help of Miss Makenna our School Outreach Coordinator from Kilo Middle School. The group broke into two teams and competed to see who could name the most candy bars within ten minutes. This was a great bonding opportunity and Totem scholars really got to show their competitive side. Alexis and her students can’t wait for next week’s game!
Transgender Day of Remembrance
The Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is held in November each year to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The Day of Remembrance is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Our School Outreach Coordinator, Alicia Vasey-Neilson at Sequoyah Middle School, worked with the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) Club to honor TDOR. The club worked on collecting student artwork and coordinated a request for submissions in school announcements. GSA club received a few submissions and are hoping to have the artwork displayed in Canvas.
Our School Outreach Coordinators at Lakota Middle School, TAF@ Saghalie, and Decatur High School teamed up to host a resource fair before the Holidays. Due to the new COVID-19 restrictions, however, our team had to rethink their original plans for the event. Moving forward with new plans, Our School Outreach Coordinators pulled together packing bags and coordinating with families to insure social distancing protocols were followed. The bags provided included items like toilet paper, hygiene items, reusable water bottles, food, snacks, flyers from community partners and of coarse masks. Amanda Martinson, School Outreach Coordinator at Lakota was excited to share the success of the event and is looking forward to planning another resource fair in the spring!
Journey to Success
Our School Outreach Coordinator, Cierra Gamble at Todd Beamer High School wanted to highlight one student, Genesis, whose story really shined this month. Genesis came into the CIS office at Todd Beamer around this time last year looking for help. She was behind in credits and at risk of not graduating with her class. Throughout the year, Cierra worked with her on self-advocacy. Genesis worked hard the remainder of the school year and summer to gain her credits back. She utilized her self-advocacy skills and engaged with counselors and teachers to make sure that she was on the right path to graduate. This month, Genesis was excited to share some fantastic news with her School Outreach Coordinator Cierra. All of her hard work paid off, she is going to graduate with her class! Cierra was so humbled to be able to witness her amazing growth over the last year and share in part of her journey.
Our School Outreach Coordinator, Pat Perkins, at Illahee Middle School, delivered a special surprise to her students. Pat put together a gift bag with a variety of goodies and a handwritten note to each student. Eighteen of her case-managed students received an impromptu visit from, “Grandma Pat,” to deliver the surprise. Pat said, “Seeing each smiling face, lifted everyone’s spirits.”
Navigating the challenges of distance learning can be a significant challenge on its own. Our School Outreach Coordinator, Fatou Bah at Tyee High School, has been helping a group of students struggling with language barriers as well as challenges with technology. Fatou attends a zoom class a couple days a week to assist French speaking students who are struggling to navigate technology issues while also overcoming a language barrier. The students have been struggling in Math and English class but Fatou is overjoyed to report in spite of their adversities, each of the students have been showing up to class every day, ready to take on the challenge. They even advocate for each other and themselves. “It has been a pleasure working with such hardworking and dedicated students,” Fatou says.
Bridging A Gap
Bridging A Gap (BAG), is a Weekend Feeding Program. “The focus of this program is to replace the breakfast and lunches that students who rely on the Free & Reduced Feeding Programs at school will not receive over the weekends and during school breaks.” Our School Outreach Coordinator, Kimberly Foster at TAF@ Saghalie, reported that she was able to provide gift cards to Winco and Safeway to families in need through our partnership with the BAG Program. “BAG has been an amazing partner with so much growth over the years; We are blessed and thankful to be able to have a steady, supported community resource like BAG to assure that our students are healthy and well during this COVID school closure,” Kimberly says.
Our School Outreach Coordinator, Markese Walker-Brown at Truman Campus, coordinated a guest speaker from the Army to talk with his students via Zoom. Sergeant First Class, Luis Perez, spoke on his path from high school to the army, his experience within the Army, and where he is in his career currently. Markese was excited to report that it was a great success. Several scholars in attendance were already interested in military service. The students were engaged throughout the presentation, receiving a plethora of information and a robust Q&A section. Thanks to SFC Perez, all of the students walked away with a wealth of knowledge.