A Season of Giving Across D45
Each year, between Thanksgiving Break and Winter Break, it is truly astonishing to witness the compassion, teamwork, and generosity of D45 students, staff, families, and community members as they join together to help others. It would be nearly impossible to capture all the wonderful acts of kindness done to brighten the lives of others during the holiday season. It may, however, warm your heart in this chilly season to learn just a little about what is done and that our district deeply cares for our students, our families, and our community.
Andrea Paris, the social worker at North school, helps to coordinate several events, including a food drive which benefits North families. Mrs. Paris expressed how nice it is to see, “everyone working together to help families at North.” When asked why it’s so important to participate in projects like this and give back to the school community, one 5th grade student at North said because it, “gives happiness.”
At Westmore, for many years, Student Council has sold “reindeer food” to students during the Holiday Season. This popular fundraiser is one source of funding for Student Council, which in turn, allows them to do so many other wonderful things throughout the school year. According to Josh, Westmore's student council president, this money helps fund “Pasta for Pennies which benefits the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, and the schools Conservation Club.”
The Builders Club at Jefferson “rang” the bell for the Salvation Army at Walgreens on the corner of St. Charles and Ardmore. Carolyn Pakeltis, 7th Grade ELA Teacher said, “Ringing the bell for the Salvation Army...allows students an opportunity to see the giving nature of our community. When students are there, greeting shoppers, many stop and ask them where they are from and then voice what a great service they are providing. Our students interacting with others and discussing how ringing the bell helps others, shows the kids how a short volunteer event has a greater impact on others lives; not only raising money for the organization, but also being a positive youth example to the community.”
Students at Jefferson also helped to collect over 1,000 food items that were donated to a local church to help create baskets for Thanksgiving. All the leftover food was donated to the Villa Park Food Pantry.
For many years, staff at the District’s central office has rallied together to donate gifts to a selected family in the D45 community. This year, nearly 12 staff members participated and purchased gifts, then wrapped them to give to the entire family.
When asked what was being done at Jackson Middle School, Principal Jill Amrhein celebrated the elementary schools. She said, “we don't do anything in terms of donations, etc. since the elementary schools do so much! Instead, we have a "Giving Garden" in the spring. Same idea, but we focus on clothes for the summer (shorts, t-shirts, swimsuits). The idea is to not compete with the elementary schools and to spread giving throughout the year.”
Here are a few highlights from each school that helps paint a better picture of how incredible our students and staff are.
A Giving Tree is placed in the foyer that provides gifts to families in need at Ardmore with gift cards and specific items. Student Council coordinated a special day in which a $1 donation allows you to wear a hat to school. All proceeds go to St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Several other organizations partner with the Ardmore community to help families in need by providing food, clothing, and gifts to families.
Because of everything going on at elementary schools, Jackson staff and students collect donations in the summer at their “Giving Garden” to focus on another season.
Students help ring the bell for the Salvation Army. The entire school collected food and donated over 1000 items to two local charities.
Students and staff collect food and create food baskets that are presented to families within the school.
Student council recently collected over 200 lbs of candy that was shipped to soldiers. Kindergarten through 5th grade STARS students went on a field trip to Sunrise Assisted Living in Lombard. The students completed crafts, sang songs, and performed a play for the senior community.
Students and staff complete a food drive which raised over 530 canned food items and $50 in gift card money. Students are starting a pop tab collection soon with proceeds benefiting the Ronald McDonald House Charities to help families with children in hospitals.
Two giving trees are located near the Westmore front office that allow individuals to purchase gifts or donate scarves, hats, and gloves. The school participated in a food drive. Student council sells “reindeer food” that helps fund activities for the remainder of the school year.
York Center students collect bread tabs throughout the year for Danielle Cares for Chairs. Immediately following winter break, students begin a fundraiser for the American Heart Association through the Kids Heart Challenge.
Staff in the district office purchase and donate gifts to a family within the district.
Brian Graber, the Assistant Superintendent for HR at D45 sums it up nicely by saying, “it's great to see all the different ways D45 students and staff are supporting those in need, and it's truly wonderful to know the efforts and generosity are happening at every level in the district.”