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News from Goose Creek CISD

Harlem Hosts First CATCH Family Night
02/07/2018

Elizabeth Del Rio (right) from the Houston Food Bank, presents information on healthy eating using the MyPlate visual, held by Wendy Strawbridge of the Baytown YMCA. The presentation was part of the CATCH Family Night at Harlem Elementary.

Photo by Susan Passmore

Elizabeth Del Rio (right) from the Houston Food Bank, presents information on healthy eating using the MyPlate visual, held by Wendy Strawbridge of the Baytown YMCA. The presentation was part of the CATCH Family Night at Harlem Elementary.

 

 


 

 


Coach Carl Gray (left) presents a cookware set door prize to Bertha Saldivar, a parent in attendance at the CATCH Family Night at Harlem Elementary.

Photo by Susan Passmore

Coach Carl Gray (left) presents a cookware set door prize to Bertha Saldivar, a parent in attendance at the CATCH Family Night at Harlem Elementary.

 

 


 

 


Wendy Strawbridge from the Baytown YMCA helps Alan Beltre, a first-grader from Alamo Elementary and his mother Arleny Mejia, a Harlem Elementary employee, decide which foods would provide a balanced meal at CATCH Family Night at Harlem Elementary.

Photo by Susan Passmore

Wendy Strawbridge from the Baytown YMCA helps Alan Beltre, a first-grader from Alamo Elementary and his mother Arleny Mejia, a Harlem Elementary employee, decide which foods would provide a balanced meal at CATCH Family Night at Harlem Elementary.

 

 


 

 


Rocket Salazar, first-grader at Harlem Elementary, tries some fruit at Harlem Elementary’s first CATCH Family Night.

Photo by Susan Passmore

Rocket Salazar, first-grader at Harlem Elementary, tries some fruit at Harlem Elementary’s first CATCH Family Night.

 

Harlem Hosts First CATCH Family Night

 

By Susan Passmore

 

The One Stop Patriot Shop isn't always open, but when it is, some amazing things happen there. The shop, housed in two classrooms in portable buildings at Goose Creek Memorial High School, is run by students in the Life Skills program and their teachers. During the past year and a half, it has provided clothes, food, toiletries and cleaning supplies free of charge for numerous families in need.

 

"Mrs. Jackson, our principal, gave us the Backpack Buddies (Houston Food Bank) project so that students could learn vocational skills, such as sorting and reading labels, but she had heard about this type shop at another school, so we tried it, and it just exploded from there," said teacher Tiffany Aguilar.

 

Fifteen students in the class work in the shop at least three times each week. When clothing donations come in from the staff or the community, they check them to make sure they're clean and in good shape, and they decide if the items could be worn at school. The class has access to a washer and dryer, so sometimes even soiled items may be salvaged. Students and families are referred to the shop by teachers, counselors and social workers for various reasons.

 

"One time we had a student who needed a pair of shoes because the sole of her shoe had come loose. At the end of school last year, we helped several kids who didn't have white shirts, ties or dress shoes for graduation. If students violate the dress code and can't reach a parent, we can usually find them something to wear," said Richie Lawrence, a paraprofessional who helps the students with the shop.

 

The aftermath of Hurricane Harvey resulted in increased business for the workers. Not only did more donations come in, including backpacks and school supplies, but community members took advantage of the opportunity to replace a few items they had lost in the flooding. The shop opens primarily for GCM families, but no one was turned away during Harvey.

 

"Harvey was a huge push for us. We had the room, but we had to organize everything coming in. We helped 200-300 families during that time," Aguilar said.

 

Lauren Desselle, Life Skills teacher, and Michelle Cienfuegos, paraprofessional, also take pride in assisting students with the One Stop Patriot Shop. Although the students are willing to do anything necessary to maintain the shop, each student has a favorite job.

 

"I love putting up the cans," said Hannah Brown, a freshman.

 

Although both rooms of the shop are neater than most people's closets, the students are still in need of more clothing racks, shelves and other storage containers to keep everything organized for easier access.

 

"I'm very proud of our students and all the work they have done in OSPS. Since it opened, it has provided many vocational opportunities for our students right here on campus. The students are able to develop their vocational skills while providing a service for our campus, students, and families on our campus that are in need," Desselle said. "We are excited to watch the store and the students' skills continue to grow over the years to come."

 

The success of the One Stop Patriot Shop may be measured by the intake and the outflow of goods, but, more importantly, its success can be gauged by the smiles on the faces of the students as they learn the importance of giving back to the community.

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