By Kendra Hennis
This October, the Help-a-Child program celebrates their fifteenth year for doing good for Tuscola schools.
The Help-a-Child Program was created in the Tuscola School District in the 2005-2006 school year by Katie Wienke, school guidance counselor, and Laurie Mooney, then school nurse, and is still going strong supporting students’ needs. The program helps cover whatever the need may be. These things may include field trip costs, school supplies, school pictures, shoes, alarm clocks, winter coats, or even joining a club at school (not all are free and have costs associated). Many times, a camp or event may have a discount by the program to assist students in need.
Mooney said that, “we needed to figure out a way to help the students. And while it is sad that we have to have it, I’m glad it is there for kids.” Mooney spoke of her experience with the program fondly, noting even sometimes taking students to doctors and dentists appointments, with parent’s consent of course.
The program is available for all students in need in the school district. The need is usually identified by a member of the Tuscola faculty and then they present it to Mrs. Wienke or elementary school guidance counselor Jessie Hanner where they can see if the program can assist with the needs. The Help-a-Child Program works directly with students and families to assist with their needs. Depending on the Help-a-Child funds available the program may or may not be able to assist with the request.
The Help-a-Child program is funded solely by generous donations given by those in the community such as Kiwanis, churches, Rotary Club, and even individual donations. Additionally, the program sometimes holds fundraisers nights or 50/50 raffles to aid in donations.
Wienke said, “With many families struggling to make “ends-meet” the Help-a-Child Program has remained a steady source of extra help to those in need of further assistance. I am so thankful to have this program still going in our schools/community. And thank you to so many wonderful community agencies, churches, and individual families that continue to support the Tuscola School District’s Help-a-Child Program.”