A Season of Giving

West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science students wrapping gifts for the Toys for Eagles Program

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill

Our students and staff have hearts of gold! We are overwhelmed with the number of heartwarming stories we have heard of students collecting hundreds of pounds of food, of a staff member rallying her community to buy each student a new toy for the holidays, families collecting toys for other families in need, and students and staff collecting bags for children in foster care. The best part? We could spotlight dozens of others who have been as generous with their time and resources, but we wanted to say thank you for the remarkable outpouring of compassion for your school community. 

Below are some examples of a few schools and what they have done to assist their own communities. 

Things happening to students and families in our schools: 

Dove Academy

Ms. Angela Priebe, a teacher at Dove Academy of Detroit, put a request out to her community for a pair of shoes for one of her students. The community responded to offer help – more than Ms. Priebe could ever have imagined. In response to her request, all 470 Dove Academy of Detroit students received a new pair of shoes for free from a gracious community member. Dove Academy of Detroit students with their gift from Operation Warmth and Comfort

But the gifting didn’t stop there. Ms. Priebe knew that many of her students have Christmas lists that include things like a bike, a new basketball, a doll and more. Some students might never receive their Christmas wishes. So Ms. Priebe thought that maybe she could call on her generous community to help again. 

Gym filled with Dove Academy students and teachers during Operation Warm and Comfort

And they did! Firmly Rooted, a church in Oxford, The Lake Orion Village Police Department, Seniors Helping Seniors of Lake Orion, Northern Flooring and Interiors, SalonU, Hair Inn and Lucky’s Natural Foods bought and collected all the needs and wants of the students from Dove Academy throughout the months of November and December.

Each student filled out a notecard with their needs and Christmas wishes. These gifts have been sorted and were delivered by the community partners last Friday.

Click here for the news clip! 

New Branches

Students at New Branches also helped to make the holidays brighter for other children in their community who might not otherwise experience the joy of unwrapping gifts on Christmas Day.

They joined in the competition with the annual School Spirit Challenge that Channel 13 on your side does every year and collected Toys for Tots. 

Click here for the news clip!

West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science

Two West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science students cutting wrapping paper

The student council of WMAES led a very robust Toys for Eagles program this year. Toys for Eagles is an internal support program that offers families within the school community the opportunity to celebrate the holiday season with a little extra help. This is the first year where sponsors were connected (anonymously) with families in need to buy specific items identified. 

Each family was given both cards labeled: sponsor or in need. These were filled in and then returned to the front office where the student council advisor divided up and paired families together. 

The response was overwhelming and the need was bigger than expected. Staff members also stepped up and donated generously so that all of the wishes could be met.

Three Oaks Public School Academy

The Three Oaks school community has a genuine spirit of giving this year and the staff has been instrumental in teaching students what this truly means. For example, during math, the fourth graders have been learning about ratios. To make this into an experiential learning project, the 3rd and 4th-grade teachers bought supplies to make trail mix. With a lesson plan, they put together the right ratio for the trail mix. 

Children writing cards

Then, they sold it to make money and then gave all the proceeds to Kids Food Basket!

The PTO also wanted to show love, so they worked very closely with the school to identify students who were homeless and families who were in need. The student council collected toys and the PTO supplied other items that the families indicated that they needed. 

Finally, the PERCS (providing emotional wellbeing through responsibility, character traits, and service-learning) class made Christmas cards and distributed them at a local assisted living center.

Battle Creek Montessori Academy

Students sorting food donationsAt Battle Creek Montessori Academy, students have been collecting bags for a local foster care agency. The agency stuffs the bags with clothes, toiletries and other necessities so that when the kids are removed from the home and put into foster care, they have all the things that they need. This provides a sense of safety for the children as they transition into foster care. 

On November 14, they also requested students to bring in one item daily for what they called the reverse advent calendar. The supplies that have been collected will be donated to families within their own community. 

Creative Montessori Academy

There is not a day that goes by where Creative Montessori Academy is not doing something for its own school community. During this holiday season, students brought in coats, blankets and mittens for a cold weather drive.

The PTO also supported the teachers through the 12 days of Christmas. Each day the staff were given treats to go along with themes. The staff really appreciated the outpouring of love from the PTO and also Jessica Beaudrie, secretary,  who helped make this so much fun.