CICERO – A Unity Junior High School teacher recently found a way to fill an empty bag with a lot of school supplies, as well as a lesson on goodwill.
Special Education Teacher Kristine Stalzer had a problem. Each week, a raffle is held where 20 prizes are awarded to students attending summer school. Last week, Stalzer had Paw Pride Bags, which feature the school’s tiger mascot, to raffle off. But the empty nylon bags seemed a little lonely.
Another teacher told students the bag would probably be filled with something, not knowing the school had nothing but the bags to provide.
Stalzer called Meijer foods in Cermak Plaza, Berwyn, where she talked to Marcia Krueger, store director.
“I received a phone call from her. I told her I’d be happy to help her as long as she met the [Meijer] organization’s donation requirements,” she said. “She provided that to me and was happy to go with the gift card.”
Every year, Krueger is given a donation budget for both goods and cash to be distributed to nonprofit groups in the community.
“It means a lot to the organization and the store to partner with the community and help families and children in need” she said. “It helps build relationships in the community.”
For Stalzer, the gift card was more than just a donation.
“I’ve done donations a million times and this is really special,” Stalzer said. “It just seemed like she really wanted to help us.”
Tales picked up the gift card July 9 and did some school supply shopping that day.
“A lot of our students come from high poverty. I realized a lot of times they didn’t have the supplies they need and teachers were supplying [school essentials] for them,” she said.
The weekly raffles are part of the Positive Behavior System, which is based on school expectations for students to act in a safe, respectful and responsible manner. Students are given a certificate in the form of a paper tiger paw indicating they have demonstrated an act of positive behavior, such as good manners or reporting an unsafe or dangerous situation.
At the end of the week, the students are encouraged to sign one of the certificates, which is then put into and drawn from a giant plastic Crayon. A total of 20 certificates are drawn and those students receive a prize.