Lakota announces a new way public can help needy school families

Officials at the school system recently launched of a “Gateway for Kindness” to provide assistance for low-income families in the district. 	As part of the Neighborhood Bridges, non-profit charity for Lakota, the new giving program is designed to help remove barriers to learning encountered by “at-risk and underprivileged students” in West Chester and Liberty townships. (File Photo\Journal-News)
Officials at the school system recently launched of a “Gateway for Kindness” to provide assistance for low-income families in the district. As part of the Neighborhood Bridges, non-profit charity for Lakota, the new giving program is designed to help remove barriers to learning encountered by “at-risk and underprivileged students” in West Chester and Liberty townships. (File Photo\Journal-News)

‘Gateway for Kindness’ program’s aim is to help remove barriers to learning for ‘at-risk and underprivileged students.’

There is a new way for more to give to the needy in the Lakota school community.

Officials at the school system recently launched a “Gateway for Kindness” program to provide assistance for low-income families in the district.

As part of the Neighborhood Bridges, nonprofit charity for Lakota, the new giving program is designed to help remove barriers to learning encountered by “at-risk and underprivileged students” in West Chester and Liberty townships, said school officials.

Gateway for Kindness doesn’t replace any existing charitable programs, said officials, but rather further supplements them.

“Partnerships with critical emergency relief organizations like Reach Out Lakota and evolving programs like our school-based food pantries continue to be of critical importance to our families,” said Leah Aguilar, a member of Lakota’s Outreach, Diversity and Inclusion (LODI) department and one of the area directors for Neighborhood Bridges Lakota.

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“This new partnership does not replace or compete with those services, rather it complements them,” Aguilar said in a statement released by Lakota. “Our goal is to give community members yet another avenue through which they can direct their giving to the very specific needs of our most vulnerable students and their families.”

Gateway drives direct support and care by inviting local schools, mental health agencies, clergy and other service organizations to advocate for those in need. Advocates, including Lakota’s Success program community liaisons, post specific needs via a secure portal that maintains recipient anonymity.

Neighborhood Bridges then shares those needs through daily emails and social media posts — engaging the community to come together to fulfill them.

Typical needs include clothing, shoes, coats, school supplies, school fees, furniture, household items and monetary donations for medical or household expenses. One hundred percent of all donations get directed to Lakota students and their families, said officials.

Lakota Board of Education President Kelley Casper is both a fan and an official in the new effort.

“This program makes it so easy to connect our students’ needs with resources right here in our community and is just another tool to help us make learning equally accessible to every student,” said Casper.

Families, community members and businesses can follow needs in the community by subscribing to email updates on the Neighborhood Bridges Lakota webpage and by following on social media channels that include: Facebook and Twitter.

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