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On-Line Edition      Thursday, March 23, 2017     Vol. 59  No. 12

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Tiara time in Lombard
The Lombard Junior Women's Club sponsored its annual tiara presentation for the five members of the 2017 Lilac Court and their families in the historic Maple Street Chapel March 14. Pictured are royal court members (left to right) Princess Liana Pavese, Princess Amanda O'Brien, Princess Taylor Balsitis, Princess Kyla Denwood and Princess Emma Peca. The new Lilac Queen will be chosen April 29 during a final judging with this yearʼs queen being announced at a coronation ceremony in Lilacia Park on Saturday, May 6.         Photo by Steve Spoden

                ***** Out & About  by Jane Charmelo *****

Hammerschmidt students demonstrate how they can make a difference

"Making a Difference" is the theme at Hammerschmidt Elementary School, and recently students, parents and staff "walked the walk" in an effort to help the less fortunate.
    The Lombard school held a multi-collection drive during February, then took things a step further at a "Making a Difference Family Night" on Tuesday, March 14, by having families come together to sort, bag and box up the items they have collected, to then be distributed to several agencies, according to Principal Dave Danielski.
    Danielski explained that the event is an outgrowth of the Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports, or PBIS, Committee. This model outlines school-wide behavioral expectations—such as demonstrating respect and responsibility for self and others—and emphasizes the recognition of positive behaviors.
    The principal added that by helping the less fortunate, "It's directly related to our theme of making a difference."
    He said the theme is about making a difference starting at school, next within the community and then in the world.
    It is the community aspect that encompassed the Make a Difference Month in February, the principal related, saying that during each of three consecutive weeks in February, the students collected food, toiletries and clothes, all to be distributed to various local service organizations.
    The first week students collected toiletry items to benefit DuPagePads, which were to be delivered to the Client Service Center in Wheaton.
    The second week was earmarked for collecting clothing to be shared with Poised For Success and the Clothes Closet at First United Methodist Church, both in Lombard.
    Poised for Success offers women in need a chance to obtain appropriate clothing—and helps with building self-esteem and interview skills—for job interviews and employment, in order to help them become self-sufficient.
    The Clothes Closet is part of the Methodist church's food pantry ministry that assists local individuals and families in need.
    During the third week of the drive, students supported the DuPagePads program at First Church of Lombard, United Church of Christ, by collecting items for sack lunches to share with the homeless clients who visit on Tuesday nights.
    Beyond peanut butter and jelly, the drive included items such as paper sacks, plastic storage bags, plastic knives, juice boxes, chips and a sweet snack.
    Besides undertaking the three-week drive, Danielski said proudly, different classrooms had already been brainstorming ways to help out in the community—coming up with their own ways to make a difference. Their ideas are displayed on the hallway walls.
    Ideas included helping the Illinois Parrot Rescue organization, cleaning up trash, donating toys, writing thank-you notes to the community, helping neighbors and writing cards and jokes to give to area senior citizens, to name a few.
    At the family night, volunteers were assigned color codes to one of three "stations"—sorting and boxing clothing, preparing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for DuPagePads or sorting and bagging up toiletries. Each station, manned by Hammerschmidt staff, lasted about 20 minutes, then the families moved on to the next station.
    Second-grader Madison Johnwick and her mother Laura were among the volunteers who attended the family night. When asked why she was volunteering, Madison responded, "We're helping some families who don't have any toiletries or food."
    Her mom said Madison is no stranger to volunteering, as she has volunteered at Feed My Starving Children, and helped her brother collect toys for children in a hospital cancer ward.
    Sam Gibson and his mom Sarah were helping sort clothing, when the first-grader said he wanted to volunteer because "I just think it would be a good experience."
    His friend Ruby Temple, also in first grade, agreed, and added that another reason she wanted to volunteer was "I've never done it before."
    When asked if she would volunteer again, Ruby didn't hesitate when she answered, "Yes."
    Lindsay Kookoothe, Hammerschmidt second-grade teacher, quipped as she manned the toiletries station that "the kids are learning a lot about hygiene products," adding that from her viewpoint, it was "a huge turnout–better than we could expect."
    Fourth-grade teacher Kelly Summers found it to be "emotionally overwhelming" to see so many children and families come together to help the less fortunate.
    She commented that it's "not just giving [donations] but also being involved" in sorting and bagging them, adding that it also is a lesson demonstrating "there are people in need in our community."
    "We've been talking about it for a couple months now," Summers said, adding that she was not surprised at the high turnout.
    "This is such a giving community; it really starts at the house level," said the teacher, who is also a native of Lombard.
    Gail Foster, executive director of Poised For Success, commented earlier in the evening, "I think it's awesome...just to get the little kids involved."
    Later, after seeing all the clothes that were collected and sorted, she explained to the families how that clothing would help women get jobs, and that "what you did tonight was really huge."
    Representatives from DuPagePads and the Clothes Closet also told the families how the donations and volunteer efforts would benefit their respective agencies.
    At the end of the evening, Danielski said this event also helped "to show the kids where this stuff is going," and added, "It's so great to see the end product."
    He noted afterward that some 55 families attended as well as 25 staff members, and for organizing a first-ever event such as this, "My school team really pulled things together."
    And, "The feedback was wonderful from the families," the principal said modestly, adding that he overheard a parent say this family night was "the best they have ever attended."

                 *** September 11, 2011 ***