College football season has started so it seems only fitting that we should wrap up our 2013 Champ series with the KZOO Spartans. (Not that we have any favorite teams – we are fans of all colleges and universities!) We should point out that the KZOO Spartans were at it again this summer – surpassing what they did last year and raising funds to provide 64 middle school students with a new backpack stuffed with school supplies. And, just this morning, we learned that, thanks to the continued efforts of KZOO Spartans, our CIS Site Coordinators will be able to deliver 60 additional new backpacks to students. Talk about touchdowns! Thanks KZOO Spartans!
It all started with a golf tournament and the idea to ask golfers to make a donation so backpacks filled with school supplies could be given to middle school students in the fall.
Thanks to the members of the KZOO Spartans — a group of Michigan State University alumni & friends in Kalamazoo County– 50 middle school students started their school year with one of these well stocked backpacks. The power of new backpacks and school supplies can not be underestimated. Emily Demorest, CIS Site Coordinator at Maple Street Magnet School for the Arts recalls a new student who had recently started attending the CIS afterschool program (funded through 21st Century). During homework time, she came upon him sitting by himself, his head down, resting on a drawstring bag that had a long rip in the side. The student confided to her that he had bad grades. He shared his struggle to keep his things organized and how he often lost his assignments. She gave him one of the new backpacks filled with school supplies. Together, they sat down and carefully organized all the items. “I love to see him in the hallway,” she says, “carrying his black backpack stuffed with classroom materials. He loves coming to school where he now has a cool matching backpack just like all the other kids.” For him, a backpack thoughtfully filled with supplies has helped him stay on track.
The KZOO Spartans have continued to meet our students’ basic needs by supporting the CIS Kids’ Closet program – helping to ensure children have the clothing, school supplies, and personal care products they need to allow them to attend school in comfort and dignity.
Additionally, alumni members have helped to foster a college-going culture by participating in CIS events like Ready, Set, College! and College Night at Maple Street Magnet School.
It is not surprising that the Latin noun, alumnus, is derived from the verb “alere” which means to nourish. For that is just what this alumni group is doing. Nourishing the next generation of college going children by providing some of the basics all children need so that they can focus on succeeding in school. Go Green! Go White!
KZOO Spartans, we thank you for helping students stay in school and achieve in life.
Tags: 21st Century Community Learning Centers, CIS, Communities In Schools of Kalamazoo, Emily Demorest, Kids' Closet, KZOO Spartans, Maple Street Magnet School for the Arts, Michigan State University, school supplies