To help youth in need, donate to Supporting Our Students

MADISON –Surprisingly in an affluent city like Madison, many students attending Madison City Schools need help with expenses that most people take for granted.

To meet that need, the “Supporting Our Students” campaign allows anyone to help MCS students who are struggling financially. Donations to Supporting Our Students can solve important school-related expenses that these youth must face.

After launching in 2021, Supporting Our Students has helped more than 100 students with assistance for groceries, hygiene supplies, clothing, sports fees, space camp experiences, costs for advanced-placement or AP exams, ACT preparation study, graduation caps and gowns, yearbooks and other charges.

Supporting our Students provides a resource for MCS students when a need arises. “Many times, things happen in a student’s life that are beyond their control. We try to have a way to fulfill needs when they happen,” Lee Shaw said. Shaw works as MCS Community Development Coordinator.

In past years, many teachers and coaches personally fulfilled students’ needs, or the student didn’t talk about the need and declined to receive help. “We also have a wonderful community that jumps in when needs arise but many times in a reactive way,” Shaw said.

COVID-19 worsened these situations but led the MCS Development Office to establish a year-round donor effort.

To identify students in need, a teacher or staff member can complete a referral form for Supporting our Students. A committee of teachers, counselors, social workers and administrators review the needs monthly and distribute appropriately. “We always want to be good stewards of our donations,” Shaw said.

“The process is completely anonymous, meaning, the committee does not know the student’s name,” Shaw said. “A school employee that requests the assistance is notified that the need has been met.”

“In fact, (students) don’t even know that the SOS project helped them. They just know that a coat has arrived at school for them, or they have a credit towards their field trip, sports fee (or other need),” Shaw said.

Examples of charges paid by Supporting Our Students include sports fees, $200; arts fees, $200; field trip, $40; senior fee, $40; and yearbooks, $70.

Although Supporting Our Students has limited storage space, residents can donate merchandise, like hygiene items and basic clothing, like socks, underwear and leggings.

“None of this could have been done without your support,” Shaw said.

The Supporting Our Students campaign will be open through Dec. 31. Shaw can handle gifts “in honor” of a person or group, also. For more information, email lshaw@madisoncity.k12.al.us. Shaw will email a notice of the honorarium to a recipient.

For more information, visit madisoncityk12-al.leanstreamrp.com/district/need/315.

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