As we prepared for this week's first distribution, I found myself reflecting on our stated mission, Feeding our Future, but in a somewhat different way. Yes, I still firmly believe what we do gives every student we serve an assist, a tool along the way to future success, but this week highlighted other students. Ones who are not in need and how their futures are being shaped.
In schools all over the country, teachers are leading programs to shape this generation, to instill volunteerism, social activism and empathy. I want you to know about two here in Round Rock, in particular, that are working to help their students understand food insecurity.
FERN BLUFF ELEMENTARY, Suanne O' Brien
This fall marks the fifth year Suzanne, a counselor at Fern Bluff Elementary, has brought her Student Council to the Backpack House to learn about the needs of others and assemble food kits. In the weeks and months leading up to their visits - usually one in the Fall and one in the Spring- they promote a school-wide food drive and talk about the needs of others. Many of her students were responsible for the thought provoking "I Volunteer Because" artwork we featured at the old Summit Backpack House.
CACTUS RANCH ELEMENTARY, Jennifer Leuckie
Later this month, I have the privilege of kicking off a new program with the fourth grade at Cactus Ranch where every grade will be paired with a charity or non profit to learn about how they can serve and make a difference in their community. Jennifer and her teammates are taking a multi-faceted approach for real impact, studying the youth novel Holes, exploring the themes of homelessness and hunger, while conducting a food drive to benefit Backpack. I plan to return before the winter break for a kit-building 'Power Hour' with the students and the food they have collected then, in the Spring, Jennifer wants them to be a part of our annual Spring Break kit building experience.
These are only two teachers I know that are touched by the needs in our community, in our world, that want to educate and shape today's students to care, to find solutions for those needs; there are many more like them in this community and others, and I'm grateful for the work they do. If you know about another special teacher, go out of your way to thank him or her this week!