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Baldwin Park Living Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020 1 year ago

Glenridge Middle's Lions Pride Funds seeks contributions for school

Glenridge Middle Lions Pride Fund co-chairs are celebrating this school year’s accomplishments and hope to ramp up fundraising momentum in 2020.
by: Danielle Hendrix Associate Editor

The ability to offer the latest technology and rigorous academic and arts programs comes at a cost. 

At Glenridge Middle, that cost can be hefty — especially considering the thousands of dollars in International Baccalaureate program dues paid each year.

But for those involved with the Lions Pride Fund — and the Glenridge community at large — their children are worth every penny invested.

The fund’s main purpose is to ensure an exceptional educational experience for all students at Glenridge Middle School by raising funds from parents and local businesses to make improvements to the school.

At the beginning of the 2019-20 school year, Baldwin Park residents Robyn Bowers and Wendi Moses took on the task of co-chairing the fund with the intent of helping make the school the best it can be. 

This school year alone, Glenridge students and teachers have enjoyed the fruits of the labor poured into the Lions Pride Fund. From new, state-of-the-art pieces of technology to instruments and bandstands, everything helps teachers equip their students for success.

And although the duo says the fund has gained traction this year, there is still a long way to go to hit the fund’s $65,000 end-of-year goal. To date, that number is about $37,000.

After all, the physical education department is in need of a new volleyball net. The current one being used was purchased in 2003. Additionally, there always is something the school can use that might not necessarily be funded by the district. 

“We are a public school and … we are one of the biggest middle schools in the county,” says Bowers, who works as the 504 and testing coordinator at Glenridge. “But middle school, it’s those crucial years. It’s the years where you find yourself, but parents tend to back away a little bit (after elementary school), and they forget we have so many students of different ethnicities and ages. We’re an IB school, (so) we also offer foreign language and the arts, so those funds that we get can help fund all those extracurricular activities and electives that we have and make it better.”

“Everybody loves that Glenridge is an IB school, and the truth is we couldn’t be an IB school without the Lions Pride Fund,” Moses says. “I think the community loves that we’re an IB school but doesn’t necessarily always know that it’s because we’re paying for this.”

Aside from paying the annual IB dues in August, the Lions Pride Fund was able to purchase 32 virtual reality headsets. That also included the purchase of a special course code, which allowed for the creation of a brand-new class focused on virtual reality technology. The virtual reality lab and new curriculum allow students to create virtual reality games, among other things. That alone cost more than $10,000, Bowers said.

“We ordered all those and took care of that during the summer, so the first week of school, those were already able to be in place,” Bowers says. “It’s been wonderful. I know one of my friends’ kids who just started (the class) on Tuesday, she said on Wednesday the teacher did this underwater thing with the virtual reality headsets and she loved it.”

Bowers added the fund has purchased 75 bandstands, two 3-D printers, three violins and some strings to go along with them this school year.

But with the holidays and the season of giving now in the rearview, 2020 is all about keeping the momentum going for the Lions Pride Fund.

“This year is new, and the Lions Pride Fund is not new, but we’re trying to revamp it,” Bowers says. “Every year, we hope that it gets better and better. We want to try to get parents more involved. … The donations that are collected, 100% goes back into the school for whatever we need.”

Moses added she and Bowers, along with the parents who serve on the Lions Pride Fund’s board, make a great team.

“We complement each other well,” she says. “Robyn reached out to the whole staff to find out what was needed and that’s how we chose our goals, based on what was needed. … (The fund) has purchased a variety of 3-D printer filaments, LEGO Mindstorm robots, coding robots, and we just purchased not too long ago badminton sets for P.E. We’re pretty much focusing on technology, IB dues, training and the arts, including music and P.E.”

The duo hopes to be able to recruit more sponsors to help provide the best technology and equipment possible for Glenridge students. The volleyball net currently is the most urgent need, and every dollar makes a difference.

Donors who give $500 or more for the 2019-20 school year will be recognized in a donor list published in Principal Dr. Chris Camacho’s e-newsletter, as well as on the fund’s Facebook page, Instagram and on the school marquee.

“I want to make Glenridge the best it could possibly be,” Bowers says. “I really decided to take this job because I love the school, I love working there. I live in Baldwin Park, my kids are going to go to Glenridge, so I really decided to do this so it could be the best school it could possibly be. Whether somebody gives 50 cents or $100, every little thing makes a difference. 

“When the teachers are happy, the kids are happy,” Bowers says. “When the teachers feel respected and appreciated and you give them what they really need, it makes their life easier.”

Danielle Hendrix is the Associate Editor for the West Orange Times & Observer and the Windermere Observer. She is a 2015 graduate of the University of Central Florida, from which she earned a bachelor's degree in journalism with a minor in world comparative studies. ...

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