At LEAD Public Schools, one of the tenets of our Ethos is “Serving Others.” The holiday season provides an opportunity for LEAD staff to come together to provide some additional love and support for our students and their families.
The Ethos Exemplified Holiday Initiative, led by LEAD’s family engagement team, is in its fourth consecutive year and serves over 50 families every holiday season. LEAD staff purchase holiday gifts and household essentials for students and families – and then wrap and deliver the gifts to students’ homes throughout the city. The gifts are purchased with money raised in our internal Holiday Gifts for Families fundraising campaign; this year, staff members surpassed our monetary goal in a matter of days!
“I have witnessed first-hand the impact that this amazing initiative has on our families,” said Biridiana Martinez, one of LEAD’s family engagement associates for the network. “The look on their faces is always a reminder of why we do this work – not only the joy students have but the relief our parents have knowing that LEAD is a resource they can count on even during the holidays.”
Our LEAD Serve Others Stations, which were created in 2020, help us to support our families throughout the year, not just during the holiday season. Serve Others Stations provide necessities all year round, and LEAD has supplied hundreds of boxes of necessities, thousands of dollars in support, uniforms, clothing, and internet assistance in the last four years. They have come into play again in a major way as our community continues to recover from the tornadoes that swept through Nashville and surrounding areas earlier this month.
“Our families show courage by reaching out during times of need, and it is our job to honor that courage and help our families in the areas we can. This partnership with our families is very important because our shared goal is our students’ success in school.” said Martinez.
“Consistency and resilience are the two words that come to mind when I think about Serve Others Stations,” said Caleb Corlew, who led our holiday giving initiative this year. “To our families, it means that we care about them on a personal level. We focus on building connections with our families and want to show them that we are not just another school. We have the resources and tools in place to get them the help they need.”
Additionally, the LEAD Care Portal is meant to assist our families in crisis that have more chronic support needs like homelessness or total loss. For example, we have been able to engage community members in providing families with rental assistance, gas cards, furniture, and support for moving into their homes.
“The needs of our families are not limited to a particular season. Different circumstances arise every day, and we understand that. We never turn our backs on our families,” said Corlew. “Our families choose to LEAD every day, and we want to be there for them to support them when they need us.”
“I believe that in order for a student to be successful in school, it has to start at home. Students can’t be successful if their basic necessities aren’t being met. It is important that we assure our families that we are not just a school; we are part of their community year round,” Martinez added.
“My hope is that our students and families enjoy a well-deserved break among family and friends. I hope they are able to rest and rejuvenate, so they come back in 2024 excited for a great second half of the school year!” –Jamaria Johnson, LEAD’s Manager Of Family Engagement and Customer Experience
If you are interested in helping LEAD families this holiday season, click here.