We first began our Community Engagement Program three years ago. The difference in our program is built right into the name – it’s about getting engaged and active within the community we call home. It’s in the “engagement” that we make a difference in today’s world and the world our children will live in when they move into adulthood – and also where the children start learning what it means to care.
This year, we’ve chosen a non-profit partner close to home. HOPELINK, located right in downtown Redmond, is a vital resource for families who fall on hard times either through job loss, injury/sickness or domestic violence.
We kicked off our Engagement Campaign in November, where our kindergarten and elementary community came together for a talent show, a potluck dinner and the opportunity to gather hats and gloves for HOPELINK as the season grew colder.
Continuing into this month, we’re focused on a Basic Needs Drive. Basic needs are those items we all use on a daily basis. To add variety to our Drive, we’re asking the Infant/Toddler Program families to consider bringing in baby items such as diapers and baby wipes. The Early Childcare Program is encouraged to bring personal care items such as toothpaste and toothbrushes, soap, deodorant and other hygiene items. In the Elementary Program, we’re already bringing in paper items (toilet paper, napkins) and household cleaning products. But of course, a donation of any kind is welcome and makes a huge impact to those who need a little extra joy this time of year.
To bring the message of the Basic Needs Drive to real life for our students, the students themselves will be loading a truck with all donated items, delivering them to HOPELINK, and unloading the items. It’s in this activity that we see the children make the connection to what’s happening – not everyone is as lucky as they are, and making a difference can happen in your own town.
I encourage you to consider the families that depend on HOPELINK the next time you’re holiday shopping or at the grocery store. This weekend, students stood outside a local grocery store, spreading the word about our Basic Needs Drive – and they are getting about watching the donations come in.
Thank you for making MCH the supportive, giving community that it is. With your help, we are teaching our children a valuable lesson about community engagement and the impact it has on our neighbors.