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Local third-graders learn about kindness and empathy thanks to LS CARES grant

Nonprofit coalition awards close to $3,000 in grant funding to local schools this year 

Third-graders at Lee’s Summit Elementary are learning hands-on lessons about kindness and empathy this school year thanks to a grant from Lee’s Summit CARES. The grant, totaling $449, will be used for a program called PAWSitively Spreading Kindness that provides funding for school bus transportation, student T-shirts and materials for a partnership with Wayside Waifs animal shelter of Kansas City.

The grant was submitted by Wendy Hilbert, Lee’s Summit Elementary library media specialist, and Daphne Mack, the school’s counselor. Both educators said the project us tied to the school’s kindness theme for this school year.

“The concept of empathy is sometimes difficult for kids to relate to,” said Mack. “We wanted students to understand empathy and how they can care for others through the animal shelter project. This will also introduce the third-graders to various avenues where they can help out.”

The project will kick off this fall with officials from Wayside Waifs presenting a program focusing on how to care for pets with kindness and compassion. After hearing the presentation at Lee’s Summit Elementary, the school’s approximately 45 third-graders will take two field trips to the animal shelter where they will tour the facility and also do volunteer work.

Between the first and second field trips, each student will write and illustrate a book about what he or she learned at Wayside Waifs. During the second field trip, students will read their books to pets at the shelter as part of a Wayside Waifs program encouraging reading among children while also socializing animals. In addition, the third-graders will share their kindness-focused books with students from other grade levels at Lee’s Summit Elementary so more students can benefit from the project.

“This is an amazing opportunity that our kids wouldn’t have without the grant from Lee’s Summit CARES,” said Hilbert. “We are very passionate about service at our school, and we feel so fortunate to be able to provide this for our students.”

Susan Coffman, Lee’s Summit CARES program coordinator, said the Lee’s Summit Elementary grant is one of several funded through the nonprofit organization’s Community of Character business sector. A second grant, sponsored by Xtreme Gymnastics, was awarded to Prairie View Elementary school first graders, to fund their creative project to show kindness to the men and women of the Lee’s Summit Police Department.  The Community of Character consists of approximately 50 business members fund projects totaling $3,000 annually with local schools encouraged to apply for the funds.

“The grants are awarded by a selection committee made up of several business sector members,” Coffman said. “These grants allow our businesses to impact a lot of kids in the community.”

 The Lee’s Summit CARES Community of Character business organization is open to any local business. The members work together to promote core ethics and character while supporting young people. For more information about joining the business sector, visit LSCARES.org or call (816) 347-3298.

Lee’s Summit CARES is a community coalition dedicated to preventing youth substance use and violence, promoting exemplary character and empowering positive parenting. For learn more, visit http://www.lscares.org/. You may also follow Lee’s Summit CARES on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

 At an Oct. 5 grant presentation at Lee’s Summit Elementary, Wendy Hilbert (left) and Daphne Mack (right), both staff members at the school, accept a check from Susan Coffman of Lee’s Summit CARES. (Photo courtesy Lee’s Summit CARES) 

At an Oct. 5 grant presentation at Lee’s Summit Elementary, Wendy Hilbert (left) and Daphne Mack (right), both staff members at the school, accept a check from Susan Coffman of Lee’s Summit CARES. (Photo courtesy Lee’s Summit CARES) 

 At an Oct. 10 grant presentation at Prairie View Elementary, staff members and 1st grade students accept a check from Susan Coffman of Lee’s Summit CARES (middle left) and TJ Rejak of Xtreme Gymnastics. (Photo courtesy Lee’s Summit CARES)

At an Oct. 10 grant presentation at Prairie View Elementary, staff members and 1st grade students accept a check from Susan Coffman of Lee’s Summit CARES (middle left) and TJ Rejak of Xtreme Gymnastics. (Photo courtesy Lee’s Summit CARES)

Summit Christian singers earn regional choir honors

Summit Christian singers earn regional choir honors

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