At Center High School, Principal Edward Tate wanted to show appreciation to all 120 of the school’s staff before winter break. The school purchased school-personalized bags and water jugs and invited partners to contribute other items to complete the gift bags. Partners stepped up in a big way, with Evangel providing candy and a book download for all staff members of Permission to Feel; Traders insurance donating $10 Starbucks gift cards and treats; Hollis and Miller providing hot chocolate and candies; and CornerStone Enterprise giving self-care items such as candles, socks, sanitizer, candles, lotion, and more. A number of the partners also included thank you cards and cards of encouragement.

Billy Peters at Traders Insurance explained why serving the school’s staff was so important to them: “The Traders Team got excited about the opportunity to serve and help out teachers and staff at Center Schools. We had a group of people write personal notes thanking the Center teachers and staff for their work in kids’ lives. Another team of people put those cards together with a gift card to Starbucks, along with a little snack. Everyone involved took pride in giving back to a group of people that play such an important role in the lives of kids in Kansas City. We recognize that being in the education field is a tough role and can be thankless at times, but we see you – Thank you for what you do!”

In addition, several community partners have been guest speakers at CHS’s monthly Parent Universities. Parent University brings school staff, parents, and guest speakers together to address a new topic of interest each month, and sessions are recorded so parents who are unable to attend can receive the information at a later date. In December, Kennedie Clay, First Call, and Dr. Mary Ryan, St. Joseph Family Medical Care, provided information on mental health care and suicide awareness. In January, Claude Harris, College Coaching Network, discussed career, college and money marketplaces; Lisa Henderson-Rowe, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, addressed the college admission process; and Latasha Wilson, CornerStone Enterprise, discussed preparing for life after graduation. All three speakers will be addressing students in upcoming months to give further details to prepare for college/careers and handling personal expenses.

Partners also have supported Principal Tate’s goal to improve attendance by providing $10 and $100 gift cards to reward perfect attendance.