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Pinnacle Academy Girls’ Group Raises Funds for More Than 900 Meals

Pinnacle’s Lady Eagles Girls' Group helps middle school girls develop confidence, poise, and learn about giving back and helping others. Sarah Renner, sixth-grade math teacher, brought back the Lady Eagles Girls' Group at Pinnacle Academy as in-person learning started again in the fall.
 
Renner has the help of co-organizers Delena Flowers, achievement behavior support specialist, and Christine Spikes, social worker, in meeting twice a month with 18 young ladies for 90 minutes after school.
 

“The girls really seem to enjoy it. Many of them are shy, timid. One student told me she is loving it and she’s finding her voice slowly. I said, ‘thank you, this is why we are doing it.’ This girl says she doesn’t feel overshadowed by others’ ‘behaviors’ because everyone’s in the same boat and just wanting to feel loved and that they belong,” Renner said.
 
The meetings cover a particular topic that each adult takes a turn leading. Topics such as social media, dating, self-confidence, yoga, bullying, body image, and kindness have been discussed this school year.
 
“With the kindness lesson, the girls put flyers up around school with tear offs at the bottom that had some ideas of things to do. I, also, challenged the girls in the group to do something kind every day for a month and share that with their classmates,” Renner said.
 
For the yoga class one of Pinnacle’s teachers is a yoga instructor and volunteered to lead a session with the girls. She taught the girls how to relax, calm down, and breathe.
 
“Yoga helps the girls learn how to take care of their health mentally and physically,” Renner said. “Some of the girls loved it and others didn’t, but they tried it.”
 
In December, the group chose to raise funds for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. The girls created hot chocolate candy cane grams that students and teachers were able to purchase and send to friends for $1 each. The Lady Eagles Girls' Group raised $302 to donate to the food bank.
 

The food bank says that for every dollar donated, they can provide three meals. So, $302 provided 906 meals to community members in need!
 
“It was a lot of work for the girls’ group. The students saw that we needed to fix the process to make it go faster. They created an assembly line – some did the stapling, others wrote names on the candy cane grams, organized it by grade levels and homeroom teachers. They saw that setting up an assembly line was much faster and more efficient,” Renner said.
 
Currently, the Lady Eagles Girls' Group is selling Shamrock Grams to raise money for the athletic programs. Scholars will get chocolate gold coins and green colored candies.
 
“We work hard to make it a group where the students feel comfortable opening up and talking about sensitive issues. I was worried at first because of the multiple grade levels. The seventh and eighth graders are a bit older, but they are in the same boat, cut from the same cloth,” Renner said. “Anything shared in this group, stays in the group.


 
“I’ve seen it positively affect them in the classroom with stepping back from drama. I have a girl that I asked, ‘what’s going on?’ She said, ‘I’m stepping back, I don’t want to be in it, so I’m sitting back and doing what I’m supposed to do. And let them know I’m still their friend. I just don’t want to talk about everybody, all the time, every day.’ I said, ‘You’re growing up.’ She said, ‘I’m learning.’”
 
Pinnacle Academy is part of National Heritage Academies, a charter school management company in Grand Rapids, Mich. with 98 tuition-free, public charter schools across nine states, serving more than 60,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade.