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One American Classroom

One American Classroom

by Jacob Martin

I took national statistics about all students in America, and shrank them down to represent an average-sized classroom. If you have a child in school, these could be their classmates. If you had the chance to spend time with these students, each one a stand-in for millions of kids like them, imagine what they could teach you.

If all kids in America could be represented in a single, 25-student classroom, 16 put together a puzzle or played a boardgame with a parent this week; 12 went to the library with a parent this month; 8 are having some difficulty reading; 8 are going to have an anxiety disorder by the time they’re 18; 5 are going to be bullied this year; 1 will be pushed, shoved, or spat on; 3 will be robbed, assaulted, or raped, 1 while at school; 5 live below the poverty line; 2 aren’t sure that they’ll get their next meal; 1 may lose their home; 2 will never graduate. Get involved in your community. There’s a classroom that needs you.

Details and Resources

Parental Involvement
In a 2012 survey, 64% of parents or guardians of kindergartners through fifth-graders reported playing board games or doing puzzles with their children in the previous week.
Table 207.20
In a 2012 survey, 44.8% of parents or guardians of kindergartners through fifth-graders reported visiting a library with their children in the previous month.
Table 207.30

68% of all 4th grade students were tested to be at or above the Basic level, denoting “partial mastery of the knowledge and skills that are fundamental for proficient work at a given grade.”
Table 221.20

Mental Health
A 2010 study found 31.9% of adolescents, aged 13-18, met criteria for at least one anxiety disorder
Table 2

In a 2013 survey, 21.5% of students, ages 12-18, reported being bullied at school during the school year. This does not include cyber-bullying which affected 6.9% of students surveyed.
Table 230.40
In a 2013 survey, 6% of students, ages 12-18, reported being pushed, shoved, tripped, or spat on at school during the school year, of which 20.8% reported a resulting injury.
Table 230.40

Violent Crime
In a 2013 survey, 10.7% of students reported experiencing “serious violent victimization,” which includes the crimes of rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault. Note that robbery entails the use of force.
In the same 2013 survey as above, 4.9% of students reported serious violent victimization while at school, which includes inside the school building, on school property, and on the way to or from school.
Table 228.20

In the 2013 Current Population Survey, 21.5% of children and youth under the age of 18 were identified as living below the federal poverty line.
Table 3

A 2014 survey found that in households with children under age 18, 9.4% of children were food insecure, 1.1% of children were categorized as having very low food security. Food security indicates that people have consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life through the year.
Page 16, Figure 2

In HUD’s 2015 report to congress, 2,830,000 million families with children were in worst case renting scenarios (renters with very low incomes [below half the median in their area] who do not receive government housing assistance and who either paid more than half their monthly incomes for rent, lived in severely substandard conditions, or both). The report found an average of 2.09 children per household in severe housing situations. There were 116,030,000 total households in 2013. Therefore, 2.439% of households with children were in worst case renting scenarios and could be projected to have 2.09 children per household, meaning a projected 5.098% of children live in worst case renting scenarios.

A Fall 2013–Spring 2014 school year survey found 1,301,239 public school students (pre-k through 12th grade) experienced homelessness as defined by the McKinney-Vento Act.
Page 8, Table 2
In Fall 2013, 50,045,000 students were enrolled in public school (pre-k through 12th grade).
Table 203.10
The 1,301,239 students experiencing homelessness would account for 2.6% of all enrolled students, or .65 of 1 student in a hypothetical 25-student representation of all American public school students.

In a 2015 survey, 6.8% of the population were “Status” dropouts, meaning they were civilians age 16–24, not enrolled in school, and have not completed a high school program or equivalent certification such as GED.
Table 219.70

Classroom Size
A class size of 25 was chosen as a rounded average (from 25.30) using a 2011-2012 school and staffing survey of class sizes in public primary, middle, and high schools implementing departmentalized instruction. Departmentalized is defined as instruction to several classes of different students most or all of the day in one or more subjects. Departmentalized instruction classrooms were chosen as they are the most common type of classroom. All classroom types, including self-contained, combined-grade, and specialist classes, would average out to 20.84.
Table 7

Tips for Holding a Coat Drive

Tips for Holding a Coat Drive

Giving the gift of warmth

by Kristen Martin

The past few winters have broken records for cold temperatures, snow, ice, and wind-chill. With the cold weather, we pull out warm sweaters, gloves, hats, scarves, and coats. Since children grow every year, they need new warm clothes every year. For some families, the expense of providing these necessary protective barriers is impossible. It is up to us to help the children in our community. The four steps in our guide will teach you how to start a coat drive the right way. With friends, you can brainstorm new, creative idea that best fit your community.

Select a Beneficiary

From the beginning, you’ll want to communicate with your nonprofit about their needs and what they can accept. If your first choice can’t distribute the coats, be willing to either switch to something they need or ask if there’s another organization they know in need of a coat drive. Plan with your organization to find the best time and way to deliver the clothing. If you want to have donation bins somewhere in the community, get approval before you start.

Alternatively, consider donating to Operation Warm, which provides new coats for children through community organizations. “For each $20 that is donated, a child in the community gets the opportunity to choose a new coat in his or her favorite color and style.” You give warmth as well as self-esteem and acceptance.
One Warm Coat is another organization that can help you plan and hold your coat drive. They have plenty of creative ideas, materials to help promote, and tools to find local beneficiaries.


For a successful donation drive, your community has to be aware of it. Get the word out with posters and social media. If your bins are going to be in public places, decorate them in attention-grabbing ways aimed at your community. Don’t be afraid to notify your local media and send a press release.

Host the Drive

You’ll want boxes big enough for these bulky coats. You can get boxes from moving companies or stores that sell large products. Make sure your donations collections are where people will be. You can set up donation bins in specific places over a long period of time, or you can have volunteers encourage donations at a specific location on a specific day. If you opt for a single day, it’s especially important that you accept cash or credit donations for those who decide to donate on the spot. You’ll want to have enough volunteers to work in shifts.

If possible, extend your coat drive to a winter clothing drive. According to a recent study, we may be more likely to get the common cold when we’re breathing in cold air, so balaclavas, facemasks, and scarves worn up over the nose could be important in keeping us healthy.

Sort and Count

After the collection is over, you’ll want to count and sort the donations according to the needs of the organization who will receive them. You may encounter coats that are much more than gently used. In these cases, companies like Goodwill can still accept the donation and recycle the fabric if it’s not able to be sold.

Example Coat Drive Ideas

  • Hold a drive at an event like a holiday party, football game, or service project.
  • Host a winter dance that charges monetary donations or winter clothing donations for entrance.
  • Businesses can offer discounts in exchange for a coat donation.
  • Branches or departments of a business can compete for a casual day or force a departmental boss to wear something ridiculous.
  • Hold competing coat drives at rival schools or school districts—winners get a party or a pie to the face of an administrator.
  • Coordinate with the manager at a department store that sells clothing to host the drive right outside.
  • Host a concert and charge admission in clothing donations.
  • Enlist the support of a local radio personality to mention the drive and participate.

Champions for Kids staff preparing to deliver coats.

We really enjoyed our coat drive last year. We’d love to hear how your drive goes! Share your story with us and we may feature it for others to see.

Every 10 Seconds, a Child Abuse Report Is Made

Every 10 Seconds, a Child Abuse Report Is Made

Guest blogger: Virginia Wietecha 

Imagine being eight years old again. Remember how learning to ride a bike or playing for hours in the sunshine felt free and adventurous? This is how I remember being eight years old. However, many kids do not have the same memories. In fact, in the U.S. alone, a child abuse report is made every ten seconds. Child abuse affects more than 6 million children a year.

When I hear these statistics, it makes me go back to my eight-year-old self, and put myself in those shoes for a second. First, the child undergoesabuse. Second, a report is filed. Third, the child is plucked from everything familiar and placed in a strange environment.

Can you picture standing in a new facility surrounded by total strangers all around you, perhaps clutching the small bag of items you brought from home? Now imagine trying to enjoy summer vacation or start school in the fall. Burdened by stress, emotional turmoil and instability, kids in these situations risk falling, and staying, permanently behind their peers. 

Not every story needs to end like this, however. Many organizations, like the Children’s Advocacy Center of Benton County, step in during these pivotal moments to provide stability, care, support and resources. Their missions are to empower children to find their voice and to ensure that children are not further victimized by the systems intended to protect them.

That is why I am excited to be taking part in the Champions for Kids Summer Strong campaign. While I am not a nurse, forensic interviewer or counselor, I can still do my part to help victims of child abuse in my county by providing essential items to help kids stay strong during the summer. Maybe the purchased clothing, personal care items, games and movies for the kids will bring a small smile to an eight-year-old who is trying to find a new life — one that is safe, loving and secure.

Join me and the Champions for Kids staff as we strive to support the efforts of organizations and schools around the country, and see how your service project could help you win $10,000 for a school or youth-based organization of your choice!

Virginia resides in Northwest Arkansas with her husband and two daughters.


When Summer Isn’t Fun: Keeping Kids ‘Summer Strong’ with SIMPLE Service

When Summer Isn’t Fun: Keeping Kids ‘Summer Strong’ with SIMPLE Service

Keeping Kids ‘Summer Strong’ with SIMPLE Service

You probably remember what summer was like as a kid–warm days at the pool, picnics in the park or watching Spongebob practically nonstop. For kids who rely on free school lunches, however, summer can be a time of uncertainty. Kids from unstable homes, or environments of abuse, must endure (not enjoy) the summer.

At Champions for Kids, we want to provide essentials to kids and families so they can be strong during the summer. Our home is Northwest Arkansas, and we believe supporting each other starts locally. One local organization Champions for Kids is proud to support is the Child Advocacy Center of Benton County (CAC). They provide a safe environment to serve abused children and their families–free of charge! To achieve this mission, they need the help of the community. They need everything from clothing, snacks and soap to games and art supplies to achieve their mission. That’s where we (and you) can step in to help.

This Saturday, May 16th, Champions for Kids be collecting items at Pinnacle Hills Promenade, in Rogers, AR, to benefit the Children’s Advocacy Center of Benton County (CAC). This Saturday project serves as a kick-off to our Summer Strong SIMPLE Service initiative. From May 15th to June 30th, you can tell us about ways in which you are helping kids in your community. By sharing that story, you have the chance to win part of $50,000 for an organization of your choice

It can be a project like this one, or you may be inspired to help out in other ways! It’s our way of bolstering the efforts that your town, school, or organization is already putting forth. It’s all in the name of making sure that every child is “Summer Strong.”

So come join us on this Saturday, or tell us how you’re making a difference. After all, shouldn’t every kid be able to have golden summer memories?


How Hunger Is an Educational Barrier

How Hunger Is an Educational Barrier


“You can’t teach a hungry child!”

How Hunger Is an Educational Barrier

Jamie* seems like a typical eight grade student, but carries around an unseen barrier. It starts in her Monday morning algebra class, when her stomach tightens with pangs to remind her she hasn’t eaten since the previous Friday. Fighting a slow burning sensation, she tries to focus on linear equations before heading to biology, where her stomach pangs become nauseating cramps.

Jamie’s barrier to education—hunger—is something millions of kids struggle with, and what educators battle daily.  If a child is hungry, focusing on anything becomes an uphill battle both for the child and teacher. How can a child engage in classroom discussion, focus on homework or recall information without nutritional support?

The Clarksville-Montgomery County Education Foundation, a non-profit organization established to support the needs of the Clarksville Montgomery County School system, is a firm believer in the saying “You can’t teach a hungry child!”

Clarksville-Montgomery County Education Foundation exists to support the improvement of public education by providing the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System additional funding for the support of programs and initiatives that contribute to student achievement.

The organization plans to support their district’s 100% Graduation Program with the donation of snacks received through the Champions for Kids and the Walmart partnership. Many districts, including theirs, has a backpack program that helps send home snacks with students who may not have food over the weekend.

In addition to providing snacks for elementary and middle schools, the program also provides meals for high school students attending the organization’s Virtual High School program. Unlike a traditional school, the Virtual High School has no cafeteria.

“Some life circumstance out of their control may have brought them to the Virtual high,” says Candy Johnson, who works with the Clarksville Montgomery County schools. “But as a community we can still ensure that while they are in our care, they can have a snack to help them fully focus and achieve 100% Graduation in our district!”

What are your thoughts on hunger barriers in education? Share your own story, spread the word or find out how you can get involved in your community!

*Name changed 

Champions for Kids Announces SIMPLE Service Winners

Champions for Kids Announces SIMPLE Service Winners

This summer, Champions for Kids launched another SIMPLE Service campaign, this time partnering with Elmer’s to support community champions who work tirelessly to bring education, food, clothing and other essential items to local children. Check out the three winners from this SIMPLE Service campaign and join us in congratulating them on their incredible services!

1st place: Faith Moving Mountains
It’s not every day that school supplies fill a principal’s office, but students from Elm Grove Middle School, La., are not your everyday kids. Students were issued a challenge: they had two days to collect and fill the principal’s office with school supplies. By the second day, the principal’s office was so full that the door barely shut. Supplies were donated to Faith Moving Mountains, a local non-profit organization that distributes school uniforms and supplies to 400 children in need.

The Read2Learn SIMPLE Service project impacted 196 second graders across eight campuses
The Read2Learn SIMPLE Service project impacted 196 second graders across eight campuses

2nd place: Read 2 Learn
For many children, struggling to read is an insecurity which damages self-confidence. January Jones, educator in Wichita Falls, Texas, decided to go to bat for students by establishing the Read2Learn Program in her school’s district. After one year, 350 Read2Learn volunteers, spread across eight campuses, invested 3,880 volunteer hours helping 196 second grade students. By the end of the school year, 90% of those students were reading on grade level.

3rd Place: Fiesta Feed Families
Every Thursday evening, people in the Clendenin community of West Virginia gather together for a single goal: pack 100 bags filled with six, easy-to-prepare meals and snacks, for children in their local area. What drives this kind of dedication is a passion to relieve hunger for students who rely on school meals. In addition to providing boxes of food during holiday breaks and free books to students on reading level, this group has also started a reading program in their community.

Have you done a service project in your community? Tell us about it or see how you can join our upcoming SIMPLE Service campaign! 



Calling all Blogging Champions

Calling all Blogging Champions

We are so excited to be able to share our story here on our new blog with you. We hope it is here that you can be encouraged to make changes within your own community. We love to hear the stories across the internet on how and why you are becoming CHAMPIONS for Kids. We are interested in your community and would love to see where you are seeing the needs in your own community. We are also looking for a couple guest posts too. Below is a survey. If you are a blogger we would be honored if you take a couple of moments to answer these questions.