12/24/2013 1:04:00 PM 'Building relationships' basis for Adopt a School program
Natalie Orr performs in the Marimba band during the Humboldt Elementary School Winter Concert this past week. Humboldt is one of two schools in the new Adopt a School program sponsored by local businesses and organizations through the PV Chamber of Commerce.
Trib Photo/Briana Lonas
The Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce has initiated a new program for local businesses and organizations that it hopes will make a big impact on children and teachers - Adopt a School.
Two "adoptive parents," Kooiman Realty and the Prescott Valley United Methodist Church, have selected Humboldt Elementary and Bradshaw Mountain Middle School, respectively.
Pastor Wendy Swanson said she and BMMS Principal Jessica Bennett have talked about how the program might work best for the students. Plans include such things as mentoring students, helping office staff by answering telephones, lending a hand making copies for teachers, helping with testing, "paper" showers for classroom supplies, and celebrating teachers in November for National Education Week and at holidays such as Valentines Day. They also want to support students at athletic events and performances, and have a student recognition program.
"We have a variety of needs that can be filled here at BMMS, so I am interested in discovering the talents of those from the Methodist congregation who will be helping us out," Bennett said. "We have amazing students who have big hearts and would relish any extra attention that can be given to them both as tutors and mentors."
Bennett also hopes to find ways her students can give back to the community. She appreciates any efforts to bring in more school supplies. Students plan to paint a new mural at the entrance to the school and will need help with that as well as a community garden on campus.
Swanson said she'd like to see parishioners turn out for fine arts performances and sports events as a cheering section - even if the adults have no children or grandchildren in the school or district.
"Someone supported us when we were in school," she said. "Most of the congregation is retired and can be on campus during the day. They are ready to jump on board."
Carm Staker, church member and also vice president of the Humboldt Unified School District governing board, said today's mobile society often creates distance between grandparents and their grandchildren.
"This gives grandparents a chance to be grandparents," Staker said, adding that fingerprint clearance is a district requirement for volunteers.
"One of the Chamber's committees is Youth in Education," Uhl said. "We feel an investment in the youth and in education by the business community is vitally important. The businesses know we are not looking for money, but rapport, support and relationship."
The school will hang a banner of the adoptive business, and the school's name will be posted at the business, Uhl said.
"Parents can see who supports the school, and in turn, support the business," she said. She has each school's profile available for businesses to look over and choose the best match.
Kooiman said her older children, now in their 30s, went through the Humboldt district and she's been pleased with their education. She now has grandchildren and also a kindergartner and second-grader going to Humboldt El.
"Humboldt has always been dear to my heart," she said. "There's nothing that can make your heart happier than to spend time in the classsroom with children."
The first thing she'll do after the holidays is help out with some of the small reading groups, she said. She will also sit down with teachers to find out what they need in the way of supplies and anything else she can do for them.
"I want to make the learning experience a community effort," Kooiman said.
For more information on the Adopt a School program, call the PV Chamber of Commerce at 928-772-8857.