Over the past few years, Schoolhouse Supplies has been honored to partner with local volunteer Kimberly Wuepper Rudick of the Greater Oregon General Office of New York Life Insurance. Kimberly’s efforts to champion our work have included hands-on volunteering with fellow members of Women in Insurance & Financial Services (WIFS) in the Spring of 2014, co-sponsoring our Tools for Schools program in 2014-15; and helping spread the words about our programs through social media.
This summer, we were thrilled to receive a Community Impact Grant from New York Life @NewYorkLife for $25,000—the maximum available grant of its kind. Benefitting from this grant are very excited Harrison Park Elementary students, who, with delivery help from Kimberly and fellow community business volunteers, each received brand new backpacks full of much needed school supplies. What a powerful day it was!
Now that students and teachers are settled into their classrooms, we’ve launched a pilot program that will also be supported by this grant. Inspired by a simple conversation with a school counselor at a high-need Portland school in the fall of 2014, we discovered some specific supply needs that school counselors face in their day-to-day work with students. The new program, being piloted at Harrison Park, will provide “Calming Kits” for each of the 40 classrooms and 2 counselors on staff, focusing on tools that help reduce stress and maintain students’ focus in the classroom. Since this school community faces challenges that include large class sizes, 5 native languages and 85% of students on free and reduced-cost lunch, we are looking forward to seeing the impact we can make with this new resource throughout the rest of the 2015-16 school year—and beyond.
Upon delivery of the Calming Kits and additional supplies to teachers at = Harrison Park, Kimberly and the Schoolhouse team were greeted with a rousing round of applause. We hope to take the lessons learned through this pilot program to consider expanding for other school counselors and students across the greater Portland metro area.
Thank you New York Life for this exciting new opportunity and endeavor.