Another opportunity to support kids

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I recently had the opportunity to interview several teachers who were honored by the Cassville Community Teachers Association this year. Some of these faculty members were recognized with awards and others were celebrated as they retired from the R-6 School District. Each of these teachers' stories was different, but all of them shared one thing in common. When talking about the Cassville School District, they all stressed the importance of the support offered by the Cassville community.

So many of our area businesses and organizations help support Cassville and other schools in the surrounding area. For instance, earlier this month, Angels Anonymous hosted a fashion show fundraiser that will benefit backpack programs offered at Cassville, Exeter and Purdy. Around two dozen of our local businesses have stepped forward this summer to sponsor Cassville Little League teams and youth sports camps in the local area. The Cassville Rotary Club and the Cassville Lions Club have raised funds that benefit area students in a variety of ways, and Soroptimist International of Barry County, the Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce and other organizations and businesses offer scholarship opportunities for local students each year.

Knowing how area businesses and organizations give to youth programs and activities, it is often difficult for entities to reach out and ask for more support, but that is just what the Barry County OACAC Neighborhood Center will do this month. The center will be sending out donation request letters for its annual School Readiness Fair, which served over 240 area children last year. The School Readiness Fair helps many families, who are unable to purchase the assortment of school supplies required by their child's district, prepare their children for the first day of school.

As area businesses begin receiving letters requesting support for this year's fair, I hope that community members will remember how important this event is for hundreds of local children. I still remember how exciting it was to go shopping for school supplies each year. The fair gives children in need an opportunity to experience that excitement in a different way while giving their families information on resources and programs available in the local area that could benefit children of low-income families in other ways.

Even though our pocketbooks are probably lined a little thinner this year after giving generously to our neighbors in Joplin, I hope that we can all set aside just a little bit to donate to the fair. Every package of pencils or paper will help a child in need. When purchasing your child's supplies, consider picking up a few extra folders or an extra pair of scissors or ruler to be donated to the Neighborhood Center. Each item will help brighten the first day of school for a local child in need.

Lindsay Reed