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School Works with Local Police to Fill-A-Cruiser with Toys for Scholars

Student/Family Liaison Ron Hardman at Stambaugh Charter Academy was brainstorming ways to help ensure his students would have a present to open at Christmastime. He was talking with Malik Mostella, Youngstown Police Department’s Community Liaison Service Division, and they created a plan. Mostella would provide a police cruiser, or three, and they would invite community members to Fill-A-Cruiser with Christmas presents. Fortunately, staff and community members were happy to help.
Top left, Malik Mostella, Youngstown Police Department’s community liaison service division officer, and his three officers were happy to bring the police cruisers to the school for the event.

The Fill-A-Cruiser event was held at the school on Dec. 1. Mostella and three of his staff brought their police cruisers that held the presents brought in by caring individuals. Hardman handed out flyers around the community to advertise and it was posted on the school’s electronic sign.
The idea to Fill-A-Cruiser was a fun, unique plan. Because of Officer Mostella’s position, he attends various events and meetings at Stambaugh and was eager to help. During the three-hour event, Mostella and his three other officers also spent time stopping into classrooms to say hello to staff and scholars.
“Stambaugh Charter Academy has formed a great partnership with the local law enforcement community from pop in visits where students are encouraged to interact and grow relationships with law enforcement to support when needed in situations where law enforcement presence is beneficial,” Principal Bobbie Wilson said. “This relationship has now been extended to brightening our families’ holiday season. I would like to thank Youngstown City Police Officers for their involvement with our project to brighten the season.”
The Youngstown Police Fill-A-Cruiser event collected many Christmas presents for Stambaugh’s students.

Hardman was pleased with the number of gifts donated for Stambaugh’s scholars. He thinks between 50 to 75 families will benefit from the gifts received.
“Youngstown is a poor city,” Hardman said. “Because of the work I do at the school, I know Christmas will be difficult for some of our families. So, I thought anything we can do here would help.”
Hardman is working on additional opportunities to gather Christmas presents. A generous board member is willing to match up to $700 of any funds that the staff members raise. For a donation of $15 each, a staff member can wear jeans during December. The plan with the combined funds is to go shopping to buy presents to supplement what Hardman and the staff already received at the Fill-A-Cruiser event.
Youngstown Police Department’s community liaison service division stopped to visit Miss Velez’s first-grade class.

All of this is leading up to a Dec. 17 Breakfast with Santa where scholars will talk with Santa about their Christmas wishes and leave with a gift.
A lot of community support in some very creative ways should help make Christmas special for many of Stambaugh Charter Academy’s scholars!

Stambaugh Charter Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Youngstown, Ohio, serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes 99 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit