Anchorage School District teachers and students find ways to give back to the community throughout the school year, and especially during the holiday season.
Hard economic times call for a greater need in our community. The Food Bank of Alaska served 8,135 families during its Thanksgiving Blessing event last month, an 11 percent increase from the previous year. ASD’s Child In Transition program has identified nearly 3,000 children and teens experiencing homelessness in our community since this school year began. This number is expected to increase over last year’s total of more than 3,800 homeless children and teens identified by the program.
Here are just a few highlights of recent volunteerism and giving activities in our schools:
- Denali Montessori’s Student Government group led a fundraising project that collected items and donated 22 Thanksgiving food baskets to school families in need. Left over financial donations will be used as seed money to gather toys and gifts for children in need at their school.
- Wendler Middle School students prepared 18 Thanksgiving baskets for families of Wendler students who might otherwise go without. The students raised about $1,500 from collecting pennies and holding a silent auction. Vandegrift and her students presented Kids’ Kitchen with a check to provide children with food in the hopes that no child will go hungry during the holidays.
- Chugach Optional Elementary School sent 350 pounds of candy and Lake Hood and Spring Hillelementary schools sent 220 pounds to troops in the Middle East for Treats for Troops.
- Students in King Career Center‘s Public Safety and Security class conducted a community service project called Smiles for a Child. Their work benefits children whose parents are incarcerated during the holiday season.
- ASD’s Mike Klawitter, Risk Management, and Karen Reeves, Curriculum, rode along with the Alaska National Guard for Operation Santa Claus, a program that provides books and other supplies to children in rural communities across the state each year. Reeves spearheaded the program at ASD and lead in the collection efforts. Several ASD schools participated in collecting books, including Romig Middle School students who collected 575 books. Employees located at the ASD Education Center also donated books.
- Mears Middle School students in Toni Mercer’s class brought in 120 pounds of items, including toothpaste, eye drops, baby wipes, beef jerky, candy and crossword/Sudoku books, to send to a JBER group deployed to Afghanistan. In addition to the items, parents donated money to help offset the postage costs.
- Aquarian Charter School donated more than 10,000 food items to The Salvation Army during the week of Thanksgiving.
- West High School staff shopped and delivered 25 meals to school families who needed assistance during Thanksgiving.
- Willow Crest Elementary School students, staff and families raised $2,177.06 this year for their annual Pennies for Patients campaign which benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Since 2004, Willow Crest has donated a total of $9,066.84 towards the cause.
These are only a few of the generous efforts of ASD staff, students and their families, many other schools participated in charitable activities this holiday season. “I’m proud of our students, our staff and their families for their continued dedication to our community. Every year I’m impressed with their giving spirit and generosity for those in need,” said Superintendent Carol Comeau.