I have been familiar with the North Thurston Education Foundation for several years. However, over the past five years as the McKinney-Vento Homeless Liaison, I have become more aware of the impact the foundation has on supporting the needs of our nearly 900 McKinney-Vento homeless students. Three years ago, I was approached by a member of the board and asked if I would be interested in being a member of this amazing group. How could I say no to such an important part of our community? I am now serving in my third year on the board.
2. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I love camping, boating, and kayaking with my family, as well as visiting my two adorable grandchildren in Washington D.C. I also enjoy volunteering with my daughter as an overnight host at our local family shelter.
3. How do you believe the community can best support the work of NTEF?
There are several ways our community can support the work NTEF. One way is to become familiar with all the amazing things the foundation does to support our students, staff and schools; you can check us out on the web at NTEF.org. One program that I am especially proud of is our “Sponsor a Senior” program which provides every graduating senior who qualifies under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act with a cap & gown and a yearbook. Other ways to support NTEF include direct donations to the foundation, signing up for AmazonSmile or Fred Meyer Community Rewards program. Every little bit helps!
We thank Prime Lending Olympia for being a regular contributor toward the programs at NTEF. We are grateful for their continued involvement and support!
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Larry Blume moved to Thurston County as a child when his father was stationed at Joint Base Lewis–McChord and has lived in the area ever since. He first heard about North Thurston Education Foundation from a colleague over 30 years ago when the organization began.
He fell out of touch with NTEF for awhile, but attended an annual meeting a few years ago and has since become a regular contributor. “I attended Thurston County public schools and graduated from North Thurston High School and it’s nice to be able to give back,” says Blume.
Blume was a Thurston County business owner for 46 years. He owned The Guardsman men’s clothing shop in Lacey until his retirement about 7 years ago.
“I think it’s important for people involved with NTEF and contributors to spread the word about their mission and increase awareness to get more of the community involved,” says Blume.
We thank Larry for his ongoing contributions to our mission!
Over the coming year, we will share profiles of North Thurston Public Schools’ counselors. Every day, the North Thurston Education Foundation partners with school counselors to make sure the immediate needs of our kids are met. We could not do our work without these amazing people!
Meet Debbie LaFever, Lacey Elementary School
Debbie LaFever has 20 years of experience as a school counselor and has worked as Lacey Elementary’s school counselor for 16 years. Here’s what she has to say about her work with NTEF:
NTEF is a blessing to every school, including mine. There are so many times that students come to school in the morning with unmet needs and we begin a search for a resource to meet that need. You might have knowledge of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs and know that basic needs of safety, shelter, food, sleep, and clothing must be met in order for a student to even begin to focus on learning.
Time and time again, the funds that NTEF provides the school help to meet our students’ needs. We have a first grader who has been living in a car or sleeping at the shelter who has been helped with clothing, parents who have been evicted with nowhere to go who have been helped with a motel room, families with resources so limited that they can’t afford to rent an instrument for their student who desperately wants to be in the band and adults who lose a job and can’t pay their rent that is due.
I have personally walked alongside students in heartbreaking circumstances over the years that have been lifted up by the help of the Foundation. I can’t thank you enough for understanding that these are not bad people, but people just like you and me, who have fallen on hard times and need a helping hand and the kindness of a stranger to help them get back on track. I recently supplied a pair of noise-canceling earphones from NTEF foundation funds to a young student who cried every day because she had to go to the Boys and Girls club after school. The noise made her dread going, but the earphones completely turned her mood around.
Sometimes, it can be the simplest thing that helps a child to feel like someone really does care. Each student is a treasure and I am honored to be able to distribute funds from the generous hearts of those who contribute to the Foundation to those who are in need. It makes me love my job, even more, when I can say: “Yes, we can help you with that.”
Thank you, Debbie, for your hard work and dedication to the students of North Thurston public schools!
There is no charge to attend the luncheon, but a $100 donation is encouraged. All donations raised at the luncheon will go toward the Foundation’s scholarship program, Student Assistance Grants and Learning Improvement Grants. In 2018, NTEF distributed close to $250,000.
Our keynote speaker is Deanna East. Deanna is a McKinney Vento Student Navigator and she is part of the team that works with North Thurston Public Schools’ homeless students (nearly 1,000) and families and she will highlight the struggles our homeless and low-income students face every day.
Thank you to our 2018 Luncheon Sponsors! If you are interested in sponsoring the 2019 Luncheon, please contact Mike Jones at (360) 790-6548 or [email protected]
North Thurston Education Foundation is proud to support Clean Kids. The Clean Kids Project was the vision of the congregation at St. Mark Lutheran Church. Laundry is just one of the many worries of the children and youth identified as being homeless in North Thurston Public Schools.
This often leaves children attending school with dirty clothes, which in turn affects attendance, self-confidence, and ultimately, grades. With volunteer hours, retrofitted space, equipment donated by McKinney’s Appliances and a $7,500 grant from the North Thurston Education Foundation, the Clean Kids vision became a reality. By mid-September 2016, the space at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church was up and running. Once a family has a voucher for services, they can contact St. Mark to make an appointment to use the laundry facilities.
If you donate product, please review their wish list as the machines only use specific types of detergents, etc. Please drop off donations at St. Mark Lutheran Church, 2109 College St. SE, Lacey, WA 98503, Monday through Thursday. Clean Kids Coordinators encourage donors to call the church office before stopping by to make sure someone is there, 360-491-2052.
CLEAN KIDS LAUNDRY ROOM SUPPLY LIST:
For doing laundry:
HE liquid laundry soap (Costco sells Arm and Hammer for around $10)
HE liquid fabric softener
White vinegar (gallon size)
33-gallon drawstring garbage bags
Odo Ban disinfectant (for deodorizing urine odors) available at Home Depot
Lysol or Clorox wipes
Bounce dryer sheets
New clean rags
For our guests and children onsite:
Individually wrapped nutritional snacks
For a downloadable list of supplies requested, click HERE
I was on the North Thurston School Board when the Foundation was created and recognized that it could be a great potential benefit for our students, especially those from low-income families. As a school board member I monitored the Foundation’s growth, and when my last school board term ended I hoped that by serving on the Foundation’s board I could help it continue to grow and help more students.
While the growth has been impressive, as the district has grown in student population, the number of students the Foundation can benefit has also grown, and the Foundation still has great potential to meet that need.
2.What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I enjoy reading, going to movies and watching TV (mostly sports). We care for our daughter’s dog Hank and I also enjoy my daily walks with him. And of course spending time with my four grandchildren, two in San Francisco and two in Olympia. I also enjoy my other volunteer work, including service on the board of directors of the Capital Region Educational Service District 113 board and the board of the Association of Washington School Principals.
3.How do you believe the community can best support the work of NTEF?
Of course, contributing regularly helps the Foundation continue to grow, and endowing a scholarship or other long term source creates a legacy that will benefit children well into the future.
More important, however, is for people to be aware of the need and to get involved, either by volunteering on a committee or the board and by spreading the word about the Foundation among their friends, neighbors, work colleagues and others. The North Thurston community is a supportive and caring community and I am confident that by working together we can continue to do great things for kids.
Our Learning Improvement Grants help teachers increase student learning tied to district and state learning goals. Last year, Jeff Wilson of Meadows Elementary was awarded a $1,500 grant to use for “Innovative Teaching & Learning: Robotics/Coding” for his students! Way to go, Jeff!