The Elks Love Kids of Character Impact Grant project continues to push the Vero Beach Elementary School students forward. Their wampum reward system has been a driving force behind the school’s success in getting the students on track for positive behavior by raising the awareness that character counts and getting good grades are important for success. Teachers are using the wampum reward system in the classroom to redirect behavior and focus.

Students are rewarded for good grades, politeness, sharing, following directions, focus and good behavior. The lodge goal has been to help the school with behavior problems, morale and grades by funding their positive-behavior store, named Elks Love Kids of Character Store, with meaningful rewards that also help struggling households by providing school supplies, engaging toys and snacks.

Project Manager Michele Klager displays new 2017 uniforms

The Impact Grant also provides 200 free uniforms for underprivileged students. This school has 90% of its population living in poverty. The lodge feels the children are victims of circumstance and new uniforms lift their spirits to do well and take the financial pressure off the parents struggling to pay bills.

In May 2017, they added free books to the program. Books are a rare commodity in a household where money is tight. The Elks collect children’s books at the lodge and distribute them to the children as they exit the store. This year they have collected and distributed over 300 children’s books so far.

This is the Lodge’s third Impact Grant and they are finally seeing significant results:

• Grades have gone up in math 16% and 10% in reading this year.

• Behavior has improved; there is an overall 92% decrease from last year.

• The school grade is now rated a high C; three years prior it was rated F.

• Teachers were leaving the school because of behavior issues but now they are staying.

• Elk volunteers are really stepping up to help the school more than ever.

• Students know the community cares about them because of this program.

• Morale is up and students like coming to school.

For background information on how this project got started see these posts from our website: