On March 3, 2020, many LEAD students, families, and staff members experienced significant tornado damage, days without power or access to basic resources, and loss of wages and jobs.
The tornado destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses in Middle Tennessee and even two years later, continues to impact many lives. Only a few weeks later, the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything and only further exacerbated the food and financial insecurity many of our families face.
A team of LEADers headed up by Corey Burton, LEAD’s Director of Enrollment and Family Engagement, wanted to help our families in need during this difficult time. Burton established Serve Others Stations as a way for families to reach out to our Network Engagement Team for support with items ranging from food, toiletries, household products, and internet access.
“We consider it a privilege to work alongside our families, and play a role in ensuring that they can continue to take the LEAD in their students’ and family’s success,” Burton said. “We at LEAD are building community because our community matters. The SOS stations represent our being responsive to the needs of our families, but also are a way to speak to the resilience, strength, and commitment that LEAD families show in order to ensure that their students are successful.”
Since March of 2020, Serve Others Stations have supported more than 500 LEAD families.
This year, the team added new items for families to request if needed including: coats, winter clothing, and uniforms. In January 2022, 23 students received new LEAD uniforms through the Serve Others Stations program.
Serve Others Stations could not exist without the generous donations from individuals and organizations across our network, city, state, region, and nation. Our community stepped up to contribute more than $50,000 to help meet the needs of our students and families.
“The generosity of our community has helped LEAD transform academic outcomes for students through effective classroom instruction provided in concert with social and emotional support for our students and families,” said Eloise Alexis, Vice President of Development. “The gifts range from $10 to $20,000, but every gift has made a difference in sustaining the LEAD culture of work and service.”
Our Network Engagement Team is eager to help families with whatever challenges they are facing and consists of team members that not only understand the cultural experience of our LEAD families, but also speak the primary languages represented at our schools: English, Spanish, and Arabic.
“Representation is vitally important so that our families feel welcome, seen, and valued as a part of their LEAD experience,” Dwayne Tucker, CEO of LEAD Public Schools said. “Our primary goal as educators is to make sure our students are being taken care of both physically and emotionally and Serve Others Stations have proven to be a vital tool in helping us to do that.”
LEAD families and staff in need of assistance are asked to complete this form. Members of the LEAD Family Engagement team will follow up to see how to best meet the needs and/or connect recipients with the right resources.