The generosity of the Shawnee Mission School District community is clear. Organizations and volunteers have found numerous ways this season to help students and staff in our schools.
Here are several recent highlights showing how community support is #KeepingSMSDStrong.
Meals from Buck Tui Through the generosity of Buck Tui BBQ and BBQ For Hope KC, 100 Shawnee Mission School District (SMSD) families had the opportunity to receive a free meal.
Chef Ted Liberda is an SMSD graduate, with children in the district. Liberda shared it was important for their organization to provide the meals to the community, offering one less meal a family had to worry about. Meals were delivered to the Center for Academic Achievement where the families were able to pick them up with help from David Aramovich, SMSD McKinney-Vento liaison. The meals consisted of a half BBQ chicken, sweet potatoes, and green beans.
“We are so fortunate to have such compassionate and generous people in our community like Buck Tui BBQ,” Aramovich shared. “Their donation of 100 meals clearly helped many of our families who otherwise would not have had the opportunity to experience such a gift.”
24 Days As part of their 24 Days of Christmas campaign, Building Controls and Services, Inc. (BCS) presented more than $5,000 for students in the Shawnee Mission School District. They also contributed funds to provide an electric wheelchair for a student in need. Spencer Brinkmeyer, sales engineer from BCS, visited SMSD’s Operations and Maintenance building to deliver the gifts to Judd Remmers, assistant director of facilities and support and to Aramovich who helped connect the resources to families in need.
Family-Centered Clinic In partnership with El Centro and Heart to Heart International the Shawnee Mission School District held a vaccine clinic at Comanche Elementary school. The event was family-centered and provided entertainment as well as vaccines. As families waited, they were able to listen to music, eat fresh fruit, take photos with Mickey Mouse, watch a juggling act, and see a balloon artist at work.
“El Centro is such a great partner,” shared Health Services Coordinator Shelby Rebeck. “The entertainment they provided makes a fun social atmosphere that families appreciate and helps them feel comfortable.”
“We know there are parents out there who want to get their kids vaccinated, but they themselves might not be vaccinated. It’s a good way to bring everyone in, and we just try to make it fun,” Justin Gust, director of community health at El Centro explained.
Rebeck shared that there are many benefits to holding vaccination clinics in schools.
“Our schools are a comfortable place for people to come, easy and convenient, there are no appointments, and families can walk-in,” she added.
Clothing Closet Support The Shawnee Mission Area Council PTA (SMAC PTA) Clothing Closet, which supports students across the district, also benefited from community members who donated some of the most in-demand items this season.
The City of Lenexa held a drive that collected hundreds of coats for students and families. Westlake Ace Hardware corporate offices held a donation drive and provided pajamas, socks, and underwear.
Christa McAuliffe PTA also brought in more than 200 sets of children’s pajamas. The clothing closet serves families in the community and also relies upon donations from community members.
Community partners are encouraged to work with local school staff to brainstorm ways they can contribute and provide support in the most helpful way, Dr. John McKinney, director of student and family services said.
Those interested in connecting to provide support to a school community are encouraged to contact an individual school social worker or administrator. Families who are displaced or homeless are encouraged to contact Shawnee Mission’s McKinney-Vento Liaison, David Aramovich.