After a receiving a $10,000 Impact Grant from the Elks National Foundation last Fall, the Lodge, under the leadership of Michele Klager, established the Elks Love Kids of Character Store at Vero Beach Elementary School.
The students earn Wampum for being polite, exhibiting good behavior, etc. They exchange the wampum for toys, school supplies, or uniforms. Since January, the amount of wampum collected has tripled and the participation has doubled. WOW!
The joy we are giving to these kids who might not otherwise be able to afford toys, school supplies, or uniforms is immeasurable. We solicited feedback from the teachers to gain some insight from them as the the success of the program and to look for ways to improve it.
Here are three of the teacher responses we received.
My class is and was excited about the wampums and the PBS Store. Their behavior was improved greatly when the wampums were used. The items that were in the store were real motivators. They also got a math lesson out of it, because they stapled them by tens. I appreciated the time the members spent to help our children here at VBE. They did a great job helping the children make choices. Thank you very much.
The Elks Love Kids of Character incentive program has really helped with classroom management and a vital part of our incentives to behave. I have loved the “it pays to behave” type program that the Elks have brought to our school. This program helps to reinforce the good choices that we encourage our students to make each day. Our students look forward to earning Wampums and shopping at the full stocked store; thank you for all the wonderful items in our store. Thank you so very much for all that you do for the students as the teachers really do benefit from this program.
I think previously the students didn’t feel the prizes were worth very much (and understandably so without funding). When another student got a wampum they weren’t concerned. When the Elks took over the program, however, they started to ask why didn’t I get one and we saw a change in behavior, class participation, and quality of work. They began asking when was the next store and would they be the class student of the month to get the 100 wampum. I have students who receive nothing…maybe a cake….but no toys for their birthday. They don’t seem like this is unusual, but for my own children growing up we spoiled them on their birthday. These prizes mean so much to these kids and the volunteers from the Elks are so friendly and nice to the kids. Our kids need that attention. With improved behavior comes more minutes involved in learning. To many of my students PBS store day was like Christmas! Thank you so much!
Many thanks to all the volunteers who helped make the Impact Grant Project: Elks Love Kids of Character Store such a success. A special thank you to Margaret Hearndon, an Elk member and a Vero Beach Elementary School Title 1, Homeless Family Support Staff for her help in keeping this project on track. The Elk Impact Grant also provided 86 uniforms to underprivileged children at Vero Beach Elementary and the families are so thankful for our support.
Mary Lou Bottomley
Janine & Jim Peerless
Members at Large:
Volunteers are needed once a month in the store. The next store opening will be in September. Dates will be posted in the September newsletter.
If you’d like to help call Michele Klager at 772-299-5019.