Community partnerships are highly valued at Timberland Charter Academy, as they receive visits from community members and organizations to support the development of students, both academically and personally.
Community involvement is proven to make a difference in the lives of those part of a school community. Education.gov shared, “Family and community involvements foster partnerships among schools, family and community groups, and individuals. These partnerships result in sharing and maximizing resources. And they help children and youth develop healthy behaviors and promote healthy families.”
Third- through fifth-grade scholars at Timberland Charter Academy received a visit from representatives of the Muskegon Lumberjacks hockey team as part of the Lumberjacks’ Reading Caravan program.
The Reading Caravan is an incentive-based program designed to motivate kindergarten through sixth-grade students in the Muskegon Area with prizes, player visits, and arena events. The program has been running for 10 years and serves 6,000 students each year in 22 Muskegon-area schools. Timberland has been partnering with the Reading Caravan for the last five years.
During their most recent visit, Lumberjack players, Bryan Huggins and Danil Guschin, shared a story that taught students about making healthy food choices. They also played a game of charades, which modeled a variety of sports students could play to stay active and fit.
“Players enjoy school visits just as much as the students because it gives his players a chance to give back to the fans,” shared Jay VandeVoorde, member of the Muskegon Lumberjacks Charitable Foundation. “The importance of reading and education is always at the forefront of their message.”
In addition to building relationships and understanding the importance of good habits, students also had the opportunity to ask the players questions and learn about the sport of hockey.
Scholars will continue to participate in Lumberjacks Reading Caravan activities during March is Reading Month and can win prizes such as books and bookmarks featuring the Lumberjacks players for meeting reading goals.
As an additional incentive, scholars attend a Muskegon Lumberjacks game each fall as a reward for meeting reading goals. During this time they are given an academic activity book to complete during the game.
“Timberland feels very fortunate to be part of such an outstanding organization,” said Nicholle Taurins, third-grade teacher at Timberland.