"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give," said Winston Churchill many decades ago.
Students in the Lee's Summit R-7 School District have the opportunity to give to others this holiday season and year-round through school community-service projects and charitable efforts.
Lee's Summit R-7 families and citizens are well-known for their remarkable support of our district's schools, and it is always inspiring to see the creative and meaningful ways that students and staff also give back to their community.
Students work closely with their teachers and principals to select charities to benefit from their efforts. They also learn about teamwork and collaboration as they work together to organize, promote and manage projects at their schools. Students at all grade levels experience valuable lessons about generosity, compassion and community as educators help them connect these service projects to our schools' character education programs.
Although there's not enough room in this article to include all our schools' good works, I wanted to share just a few recent examples.
At Lee's Summit High School, students and staff collected well over 1,000 food items for Harvesters during December while also raising money for Harvesters BackSnack program. The BackSnack program has been tremendously beneficial to many low-income students in our district. Backpacks filled with food items are confidentially delivered to students on Fridays to help provide them with food throughout the weekends.
Lee's Summit North High School students recently completed a coat drive, prepared and served dinner at a Kansas City shelter and helped decorate two area Hope House facilities for the holidays.
At Lee's Summit West High School, students worked with the district's Student Activity Advisory Council to raise money and provide gifts for Hope House's Holiday Store and Center, raising more than $1,300 and filling a school bus with toys and gifts for families at the facility.
Pleasant Lea Middle School joined forces with LSHS with both schools' Tiger Smart groups hosting a "Freeze Out" to collect coats and winter clothing for families in need of extra support. During Freeze Out, held over a four-hour period on Dec. 7, students were only allowed to wear outer clothing that has been donated as they collect items outside the school.
A number of schools involve students and staff in adopting families in need of extra help during the holidays. One example among many is Trailridge Elementary where the school's Green Team and Student Council worked together to collect more than 2,300 food and household necessities. Students count and organize the items into a small "store" where families from the school can easily find what they need.
In addition to charitable projects at our schools, several district offices and support facilities provide assistance to local families through holiday adoption programs, food drives and other charitable activities during the year.
Throughout my seven years in Lee's Summit R-7, I continue to be impressed by the kindness exhibited by our students, staff members and families who generously donate their time, talent and resources.
Thanks for all you do for the children!
David McGehee is Lee’s Summit R-7 Superintendent and a Lee’s Summit resident.