News8000.com: The shelves of a local food pantry are filling up thanks to the efforts of employees of a local business.
Tammy Huntington, an employee of McLoone Metal Graphics of La Crosse, decided to start a fundraiser to benefit local students during the summer. Through donations from fellow employees, the business was able to collect about $450 worth of food for the Hunger Task Force of La Crosse.
Huntington says her donation drive is an example of how easy it is to help those in need.
“It’s no fault of their own that they don’t have the food that they need to survive and I just think it’s sad with where we live and how easy it is to reach into your pocket and donate just a little bit,” said Huntington.
Students in Logan High School’s Project Lead the Way digital electronics class demonstrated their finished exo arm on Thursday. The arm, funded by a number of local partnerships and grants, including $1,750 from the La Crosse Public Education Foundation, is designed to help workers operate a metal grinding tool by reducing the amount of force and stress on the body as well as increasing productivity.
News8000.com: Another school in the area is hoping to help the hungry here at home.
Logan High School recently opened ‘The Logan Table,’ a pantry set up for students and families who may have trouble having enough food at home.
The pantry is maintained by staff members at Logan and is stocked with items provided by the Hunger Task Force.
They held a curbside event outside the high school Thursday to make sure everyone had enough food to last through the upcoming spring break.
Teachers say about 48% of students at Logan qualify for free or reduced cost meals at the school and they didn’t want to see anyone go hungry.
“We worried that ‘how can you focus on learning when you don’t have food at home to eat?’ So we started the pantry at school so that the students could access it, because often you have to be 18 years old or you have to have a car to get to a food pantry,” said Logan H.S. Special Education Teacher Tricia Gibbons.
Associated Press: Zade Johnson was 17 when he first became homeless.
The Logan High School senior arrived home on a November 2015 night after a call from a social worker and found two police cars parked near his home, the La Crosse Tribune reported. His mom, an alcoholic, was drunk again, he recounted, and had kicked Johnson’s case worker out of the house.
When he arrived, he said, she charged at the police and Johnson. His younger brother was taken into foster care, but the police told Johnson he couldn’t stay there and had to find somewhere else to live.
“At that moment, all I could think about was: ‘How could she do this to us?'” he said.
Johnson is not alone in struggling with homelessness. Last year, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction reported 180 homeless students in the La Crosse School District, the highest number reported at the school during the 13 years the DPI has collected data, and more than a third of the total homeless student population in the region that year.
Too old for the foster program, Johnson stayed first with the family of a Logan staffer, and then with his father for a few months before finding a home with a family he was close to at church. A volunteer with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater La Crosse and a member of the U.S. Army National Guard, Johnson said the support from people around him helped keep him from falling through the cracks at school.
Staff members encouraged him to enroll in Logan’s LaCrossroads program when his grades slipped in math. The Boys and Girls Clubs were a second home for him, and the family he lives with now in Onalaska helped teach him to drive and encouraged his passion to become a professional umpire.
“They really taught me a lot,” he said of the two families that took him in. “I had to grow up so early, but they were such great role models.”
At any given time, 1 or 2 percent of the students in the district are homeless, La Crosse Superintendent Randy Nelson said. Ensuring students succeed in these situations, when their entire world may be turning upside down, is a big challenge for educators, especially as the issue gains more federal attention through the new Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaced the No Child Left Behind legislation.
The majority of students who report being homeless are in elementary school, said Regina Siegel, La Crosse’s director of pupil services and learning supports. Those number taper off in middle school and high school, but she said the stigma attached to homelessness might lead to under-reporting.
News8000.com: “Sesame Street” has taught us that music helps kids learn.
“They may think we’re just signing “Old MacDonald” or signing “Up on the House Top”, but we know we’re working on something far more than just singing those familiar, fun songs for them,” said Amy Schaack, music therapist and owner of Life in Harmony Music Therapy.
“We primarily service individuals who have development disabilities or neurologic impairment,” said Schaack.
For the first time, they’ve been hired to work with an entire classroom of students in the intellectually disabled program at Summit Elementary in La Crosse.
The therapists are teaching these kindergarten through third-grade students basic skills, for example steps for using the bathroom.
“The overall goal is to really learn and be able to follow all of our school rules, and to follow those no matter where they are… in the classroom, in the playground, in the hallway, in the bathroom,” said Resa Hawes, intellectual disabilities and autism program support teacher for the La Crosse School District. “We really want them to be able to be a part of our school environment without having to have those constant reminders of what the rules are and how to follow them.”