Objective: Work with third graders of local elementary school serving children in need and create quarterly reward incentives for students who achieve honor-roll status.
Goal: Encourage children in need to understand the importance of advancing in school and pursuing their education and career goals, ultimately leading to higher levels of success in overcoming their circumstances and providing stability and opportunity in their lives.
Junior League of Manatee County (JLMC) hosted four reward parties this 2012-2013 school year at Orange Ridge-Bullock Elementary as part of a new Honor Roll program, Junior League Gives Back. The program distributed during the school year $2,500 in incentives and prizes to the achieving students. JLMC also donated an additional $350 in nonfiction 3rd grade level books for the school library to aid in FCAT preparation.
The inspiration for this new initiative came from Brian Johnson, a local youth leader from Bayside Community Church-West Bradenton Campus. Johnson offered a new outfit as an incentive to a third-grader who had never achieved honor roll before. The motivation helped, and the student has achieved honor roll consistently ever since, who is now a sixth grader.
With Johnson’s story in mind, JLMC voted to start an incentive honor roll program as a new community project that would benefit one of the lowest socio-economic schools in Manatee County based on free and reduced lunches. Orange Ridge-Bullock Elementary student population is 94% Free & Reduced Lunch and 6% Homeless/ Inadequate Housing.
Rebecca Murphy, Junior League Gives Back Committee Chair, informs how a current initiative at the school demonstrates the potential success for the new program, “The Assistant Principal explained how the students use the “bucks” they earn for good behavior to buy things from the school store and for other privileges. He said the most popular item the students choose to “buy” is to spend lunch with their favorite teacher. That shows how this student population wants to be recognized by adults they admire.”
According to Jenna Polise, a school counselor, “The third-grade students as well as the Orange Ridge-Bullock community really appreciate this program initiative. Since third grade is such a vital academic year due to FCAT testing, it is important to recognize student achievement and motivation to make academic gains.”
Doug Dupouy, the school Principal agrees, “Any student recognition helps to build their self esteem and their eagerness to learn new things.”
On November 16, 2012, twenty-four third-grade students were rewarded for first quarter good grades and hard work with a board game party, and also received a Math Dice game to take home and enjoy with their family. (shown above)
On January 25, 2013, twenty-five third-grade honor roll recipients were treated to a Valentine-themed painting party. JLMC volunteers guided the students to decorate a 12” X 12” canvas. Students used acrylic paints, stencils, specialty hole punchers, glitter, pre- cut letters... but most of all their creativity to make colorful works of art. Each canvas truly reflected the students’ personalities and love (or “Amor”) for their families. The students took home an art kit, including a book teaching them how to draw, their own sketch pad, a charcoal pencil, and an eraser. (shown above)
JLMC members rewarded twenty-eight honor roll recipients with a fitness party for the third quarter honor roll on April 25, 2013. DoJo Martial Arts and CrossFit LWR presented fun, exercise programs that the students loved. The students took home a kick ball, jump rope, frisbee, sidewalk chalk, bean bags, water bottles, cones and stopwatch to keep moving at home!(shown above)
The Fourth-quarter reward party on May 24th, 2013, will be a fun, educational program about Native Florida presented by special guests from Sarasota Jungle Gardens. A python, skunk, alligator, and owl have been invited along with a trainer! Achieving students will also receive prizes with the theme ‘Wild about Summer.’ Click here to download the Media Alert.
Luis Apolinar (pictured left, with Jenna Polise, ORB Guidance Councelor), a 3rd grade student from Ms. Talley’s class, declares, “It feels good to be an ORB scholar again! I am excited for the Junior League event. All of my brothers and sisters worked really hard and loved school. They are in college now and I want to go to college too! I would like to be a fireman when I grow up!”
The Junior League Gives Back Honor Roll program is funded by monies raised through League’s Annual Fundraisers ‘American Girl Fashion Show’, ‘Beertopia & After-Party’, ‘Last Call 5k’, and the MCF Community Foundation, Weichel Family Fund (see below).
JLMC Receives Grant From Manatee Community Foundation
Weichel Family Fund Supports League’s Honor Roll Program at Orange Ridge-Bullock Elementary
BRADENTON – May 18, 2013– The Junior League of Manatee County (JLMC) was recognized with a $1,000 Grant from the Manatee Community Foundation (MCF), specifically the Weichel Family Fund, for support and development of its community project, “Junior League Gives Back,” at Orange Ridge-Bullock Elementary School.
During the first year of its new Honor Roll program, Junior League Gives Back, JLMC hosted four reward parties this 2012-2013 school year at Orange Ridge-Bullock Elementary. The program distributed during the school year $2,500 in incentives and prizes to the achieving students. The incentives have ranged from educational games, books, art supplies, to fitness equipment. JLMC also donated an additional $350 in nonfiction 3rd grade level books for the school library to aid in FCAT preparation.
Marilyn Howard, Executive Director of MCF, explains, “The Manatee Community Foundation supports the ‘Junior League Gives Back’ project not only because it supports positive attitudes toward academic achievement, but the Junior League members are “hands on” leading activities and providing positive role models for the students.”
JLMC hopes to expand the program in 2013-14 to include 4th-graders, and to provide more one on one tutoring and support for students.
According to JLMC Grant Committee Chair, April Speck-Ewer, “JLMC is thrilled and honored to receive this grant. We know that MCF has a vigorous vetting and application process, and we see this grant as a vote of confidence and empowerment for our collaboration with the students and staff at Orange-Ridge. With the help of this resource, we look forward to building and strengthening the program for the 2013-4 school year.”