By Mary Mélon
Mary Mélon provides an information only piece on one of Rotary President Terri Cooper’s designated beneficiaries of Rotary’s weekly luncheon.
Service above Self is our motto and members of Club 29 try to live this every day. We have a community with many needs and President Terri Cooper is leading the charge to focus our service on a need that is very important to our future…our kids. Each week, our speaker will have a coat donated in his/her name to The Foundation for Public School’s Coat-A-Kid program. This program will receive some of our dollars from our luncheon tables and speaker honorariums.
The Coat-A-Kid program raises funds that will supply new winter coats to our students in need. The Foundation for OKCPS and the public school administration are partnering to address this need for our students to have warm winter coats. As difficult as it is to remember what cold winter days feel like as we live through a very warm summer, those days are coming. When the temperatures drop, more than 7,000 Oklahoma City Public Schools students will not have a coat to keep them warm. It’s a shocking statistic, but is a reality for too many children in the district.
To meet the goal of providing a coat for every child in need, The Foundation must raise substantial dollars. The cost to coat one kid is $20, a class is $500, and a grade is $2000. For $10,000 we can coat a community. Donations are fully tax deductible and 100 percent of each donation goes to providing coats. Volunteers will also be needed in October to distribute the coats. For more information on getting involved or to donate funds, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or go online to www.okcps.org/coatakid.
Oklahoma City Public Schools is home to 46,000 students, making it the state’s largest school district. Of these 46,000 students, 90 percent live at or below the poverty line. As Superintendent Aurora Lora shared with us a few weeks ago, “poverty does not stand in the way of high academic achievement. That being said, there are issues our kids face that must be addressed to provide them with every opportunity to be in the classroom ready to learn.” Engaging the community to be part of this process is critical. That is where we come in.
The work of The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools is also strategic and focused. We are well aligned with OKCPS to take on the critically important task of educating our students and preparing them to enter the workforce and community as productive citizens. While the work and our role can sometimes feel insurmountable, focus allows us to keep our direction measured and concentrated on what is most important.
Oklahoma City Public Schools relies on the support of community partners willing to step up and provide assistance. The needs are great, but failure is simply not an option. Our community can’t be successful without a thriving school system. So, thank you, Club 29, for your support each week at our luncheon tables. We, in the public school arena, appreciate Rotarians’ warm feeling toward our mission and we in turn will seek to turn those feelings to warmth for kids.