As a fifth grade teacher at Rankin Elementary, Olivia Weyant has seen her share of underprivileged students. Last school year, she had 5 children in her class that received a weekly bag of food from BackPack Beginnings. Each student has a different story. A few are from single parent households; others have parents that speak little to no English. Some have loving and supportive families; one has a very tough home life. The one thing that all five children have in common? Every week when they receive their food bag their “faces light up,” they are so excited.
One boy Ms. Weyant taught last year stands out as a shining example of what good nutrition can do to change a life. He was moved onto the BackPack Beginning list after school started last year. Once he started getting a bag, he was always the first to remind Olivia every week that they needed to pick up their bags. After consistently having food to eat over the weekends, he began to show improvement in many facets of his school life. He grew more attentive, school became a priority, and he started earning better grades. In Olivia’s eyes his “huge growth year” can be attributed to not only improved nutrition, but also having his self-confidence boosted by “being acknowledged.”
In a school where 97% of children are on free or reduced lunch, the population of Rankin Elementary has an understanding of what it is to be in need. Ms. Weyant calls BackPack Beginnings a “great program” and loves what it does to enrich so many lives inside and outside of the classroom.
Written on 9/2/2013 by Blogger Thea DeLoreto