It's not too late to make a resolution for the New Year. Let's make one to support public education and our schools. There are a number of ways to do so. Of course, as executive director for the Danville Schools Education Foundation, donations are always considered a great way to show your support, but there are other opportunities, too.
One way is to volunteer as a mentor. My wife teaches in Fayette County and her school has a program called R.E.A.L. Men Read. (The acronym is Read, Excel, Achieve, Lead.)
It only requires the "Real Men" to come in once each month to a read a book with their little men, My little and I take turns reading to each other. Afterward, he gets to keep the book. Reading at grade level is one of the most important planks in the learning platform. This can help and provide a positive role model for the children.
If you have other skills that you can share, ask one of the administrators how you can serve. Show and tell from adults could be an inspiration to a child!
Think about pooling your resources with others in your church, civic club, or service organization to donate "stuff." It can make a big difference. Some families are hard-pressed to come up with resources for essentials, so the burden often times falls on the teacher. Did you know that on average, an elementary school teacher will spend more than $500 of his or her own money every year on school supplies for their students?
I'm pretty sure no one would object if your group adopted a classroom or two.
Think creatively. There is something in your wheelhouse that could be a tremendous benefit to the children of Danville. Also, think ahead. For example, if you love to garden, fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs could be your gift. Ryan Quarles, the state's Agriculture Commissioner, has a hunger initiative that matches farmers and gardeners with local schools. So you don't have to sneak around the neighborhood at night to drop off your excess cucumbers, tomatoes, or zucchini. They can become part of a nutritious meal for a child that needs it.
Or back to my role with the Foundation, give so we may support our students and teachers more directly. We have awarded funds for some amazing grant projects in the past. We would love to maintain that tradition.
In the television world, the season finale is often called a cliffhanger--something that leaves you wondering what is next. Some of you are old enough to remember one of the most well-known cliffhangers--"Who Shot J.R." from the old series Dallas.
Here's our own version of a cliffhanger.
Did you know that 2020 will mark the 55th anniversary of the first graduating class of the "new" Danville High School? Did you know that 1964-65 also was the first racially integrated class when both the old Danville and Bate high schools were consolidated? Why is that important? Stay tuned!
One final note. I appreciate all of the interest in and nominations for our Distinguished Alumni Program. We will soon post specific criteria and a nomination form on our website-- givedanville.org. And that brings up another chance to volunteer. If you love party planning, we could use your help. The recognition event has yet to be scheduled, so you have a blank canvas for your design.
As always, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared in the January 7, 2019 edition of The Advocate-Messenger.