Foundation for Learning Helps Families Weather the Pandemic through Students in Need Fund
Since 2014, generous contributors have donated $81,441 to the D128 Foundation for Learning’s Students in Need fund that supports students in need at Libertyville High School and Vernon Hills High School. These funds are used to help students who are in difficult financial circumstances meet their basic needs in order to be able to focus on learning. There could be no greater time than now for the schools to use the funds to support families as they navigate the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the high schools closed in mid-March because of the pandemic, each school continues to provide meals to its students that qualify for these meals through the free and reduced lunch program. Cafeteria staff and staff members at each high school prepare the meals weekly. Students have the choice to pick up their meals for the week or, for those that cannot get to the high school during the day, have staff members deliver the meals to their home. Families are receiving supplemental items for their family including food, cleaning supplies and toiletries if they request these items.
To supplement the student meals that were distributed on Monday for the week of April 20, LHS used funds from the Students in Need Program to include gift cards for 36 families from Libertyville restaurant Pizzeria DeVille. Families will be able to order food and either use curbside pick up or delivery. Pizzeria DeVille owner John Durning was very excited about the opportunity to partner with LHS and generously provided an additional 25% to the total amount of gift cards the school purchased.
VHHS chose to include gift cards from Target stores so that families could purchase needed food and supplies. The $25 gift cards were distributed to 51 families with their meal packages. Families were very surprised and thankful for the gift cards according to VHHS Assistant Principal Greg Stilling who assisted with food distribution on Monday.
The Ace Hardware on Peterson Road in Libertyville has been great at working with District 128 to help us get hard-to-find cleaning supplies for our families.
Both schools will continue to work with local businesses to supplement what is included in the meal packages that are distributed to their high school families in need for the remainder of this school year. If your organization would like to work with the District 128 Foundation for Learning in offering ways to assist our families in need, please contact Executive Director Diane Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can you help make a difference?
The District 128 Foundation for Learning continues to collect monetary donations to meet its goal of providing resources to ensure the success of D128 students in need. Anyone wishing to support the fund may donate online by visiting this link. Checks can be made out to D128 Foundation for Learning and sent to D128 Foundation, 50 Lakeview Parkway, Suite 101, Vernon Hills, IL 60061. Funds collected will be given to further support the students in need at LHS and VHHS.
Inaugural 1-28 Day of Giving Raises $6,005.40
Thank you to everyone who generously supported our inaugural 1-28 Day of Giving Campaign. The campaign raised $6,005.40 that will support our Students in Need and DARING Innovation Grant programs. To all of our generous donors: Thank you for your support of our mission to enhance and enrich learning opportunities for students in D128!
Innovation Grants in Action:
#D128DARING Students Impact Their Community Through Project Based Learning with Local Focus
Students of VHHS English Teacher Ellen Macias were recently given an opportunity to hone their research, writing and speaking skills while also making a positive impact on their local community. Earlier this year, Macias submitted an application for a District 128 Foundation for Learning Innovation Grant. Her proposed project was titled Making an Impact in Our Community: PBL with a Local Focus. She was named a grant winner in January and began to move forward with her plans for the project.
Project Based Learning is an instructional methodology through which students learn and apply knowledge and skills through an engaging experience. Through the experience, students are given opportunities for deeper learning and the development of skills tied to college and career readiness.
Earlier this semester, Macias presented her students with five problems facing Lake County residents: contamination of lakes, resource disparity between schools, rising poverty, a spike in heroin use among teens, and a loss of family-owned businesses. After selecting a topic, the students worked in teams to investigate their chosen issue and propose a method of support.
The project culminated in the students presenting their findings and proposed solutions to a group of VHHS and D128 administrators and teachers on March 20. The audience also included representatives from the organizations that the students determined would make the greatest impact on helping solve the problems they researched. Those organizations each received $500 from the students, which was funded through Macias’ Innovation Grant.
Topics researched, student team members, and the recipient organizations were:
Heroin Use: Amelia Tehrani, Vito Accettura, Alyssa Shniper, Batima Mukhametgalym Selected funding recipient: A Way Out
School Funding Gaps: Nedas Pazereckas, Natalya Ulloa, Nathaniel Meza, David Kasyanyuk
Selected funding recipient: United Way of Lake County
Food Insecurity: Sadi Thomas, Mohammad Kannoun, Lesly Guzman-Uvera
Selected funding recipient: Libertyville Township Food Pantry
Students who researched the problem of heroin use in Lake County learned about a number of organizations providing assistance but found that A Way Out provided the best support for those fighting addiction. The team was able to interview A Way Out Director Bill Gentes who explained the program to them.
Team members agreed upon the importance of education for students on this topic and felt that more speakers for students at VHHS would be helpful. “We should get more resources and learn why it’s bad for us and our brains,” said team member Alyssa Shniper.
The need for equitable, not equal, school funding to meet the needs of each individual school’s specific needs became apparent to the team researching school funding gaps. The team noted successful programs helping in Lake County including the Schuler Program and Head Start, but selected United Way of Lake County as the recipient for their funding. “They help with finding the roots of the problem and offer programs to address issues like learning skills for life and the future,” said David Kasyanyuk. Student Nathaniel Meza also shared the amazing differences he saw as a VHHS student who previously attended a Chicago Public School.
United Way of Lake County representative Karla Alamar thanked the group and shared a relatable experience, having gone to high school in an affluent suburb, but now seeing the disparity among schools while working with United Way.
Food Insecurity research was presented by the final student group. They noted that food insecurity is not something people think is happening throughout Lake County. Their research found that during the recent government shutdown impacted 38 million people dependent upon SNAP, and many of those included children--the group most impacted by food insecurity in Lake County. Team member Sadi Thomas noted that the team had an opportunity to volunteer and observe at the Libertyville Township Food Pantry, after which they selected the Pantry as the recipient of their donation. They found it to be close to their community, easy access and liked that it was a non-government entity.
The class thanked the D128 Foundation for Learning for its support of this project. They also thanked the following Lake County Board Members who attended the presentation and the organization representatives who supported and attended the presentations:
Lake County Board Members:
- Jennifer Clark
- Julie Simpson
- Bill Gentes--A Way Out
- Karla Alamar--United Way of Lake County
- Kathleen O’Connor--Libertyville Township Food Pantry
Macias and her students gather with check recipients following the presentations. (Back row) Vito Accettura, Nathaniel Meza, Mohammad Kannoun, David Kasyanyuk, (middle row) Alyssa Shniper, Amelia Tehrani, Julie Simpson, Jennifer Clark, (front row) Kathleen O'Connor, Sadi Thomas, Natalya Ulloa, Lesly Guzman-Uvera, Karla Alamar, Ellen Macias, Batima Mukhametgalym, Nedas Pazereckas