KREM 2 is excited to host the annual ‘Tools 2 Schools’ campaign in the Inland Northwest. And while school will look different our mission stays the same: help area kids and educators prepare for the school year by providing necessary ‘tools’ for learning. We hope you can join us in our efforts to raise awareness and funds to support that mission.
The ‘Way Maker’
“It’s the office down that hall,” says Jenni Spedick as she peers through the closed doors at MacDonald Elementary School in Spokane Valley. Spedick is a site coordinator for Communities in Schools. Prior to COVID-19 she worked daily with 25 students at the elementary school. Now, she can just point out her office to our KREM 2 photographer and hope that at some point soon she’ll be back inside the school.
“I spent every day with the kids and then nothing,” says Spedick. Like people throughout the region and around the country, Spedick felt a bit disconnected and lost when schools shut down and learning switched to virtual. And, like so many educators she had to find a way to connect because the needs of the children increased when doors shut. And finding a way is what Spedick essentially does for a living.
The child advocate and educator calls herself a ‘way maker.’ She finds a way to get a child what they need in order to focus on education.
“I’m going do whatever I need to do in order to make a way for somebody to be successful. So sometimes that means they need school supplies. Or sometimes that means they need to figure out how to get insurance in order to get the medical treatment they need. Or sometimes that's tutoring, or sometimes that's bringing in a mentor to connect with a student. But being away maker means you look at the whole situation. You say what needs to happen in order for this child to move forward, in order for this student to succeed,” says Spedick.
Last year, the non-profit Communities in Schools served 37,430 students. Well over 500 of those kids needed what’s considered intensive interventions. The needs and responses vary according to each child.
“The students we serve rely on their schools for lots of basic needs like breakfast, lunch, a warm place to be, a trusted adult to look after them etc. The doors were shut and they were no longer able to access them. We were immediately concerned and began distributing food, hygiene and cleaning supplies to families in order to serve our students and their families the best way we could during a pandemic,” says Communities in Schools Chuck Teegarden.
With COVID-19 restrictions and an uncertain school structure, Teegarden and the others at Communities in Schools plan to go into the 2020-2021 school year and ‘make a way’ for kids. The focus of Tools 2 Schools is to give educators and students the ‘tools’ needed to make that happen. This year the ‘tools’ may look different but the mission is the same. Like everything else, COVID makes it a bit more challenging to get the supplies necessary for learning. To Spedick, it’s just one more challenge to overcome.
“Okay, so we're gonna make a plan and figure it out,” says Spedick.
Part of the plan is raising money and awareness for Tools 2 Schools to ensure that whatever the kids need for school they are able to access. All money raised for the ‘Tools 2 Schools’ campaign will go to Communities in Schools (501c3) and be distributed to local students and educators. This year, Tools 2 Schools will work to adapt to the changing needs of the school year whether students are taught in person, virtually or a combination of both. We invite you to join in the campaign by clicking HERE to donate. Money will be distributed according to the needs. Right now the ‘Tools 2 Schools’ campaign is looking at providing internet access, distributing traditional schools supplies, and offering grants to local teachers. As money is distributed, KREM 2 will update you on KREM.com and KREM 2.
RELATED: Supplies needed for Tools 2 Schools