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CelebratingThe Heartfelt Impact of Our Adopt-a-School Partners During the Holidays

The holiday season is a time of warmth, joy, and giving. It’s a period when communities come together to share love, support, and kindness. This season, we want to shine a light on the remarkable efforts of our Adopt-a-School partners who have gone above and beyond to make a tangible difference in the lives of their school communities. Through their initiatives and acts of kindness, they’ve created moments of joy and brought smiles to many faces during this special time of the year.

Group Health Cooperative’s Meaningful Contributions
Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin (GHC-SCW) is a proud Adopt-a-School partner with six MMSD schools – Milele Chikasa Anana Elementary School, Sandburg Elementary School, Southside Elementary School, Thoreau Elementary School, Leopold Elementary School, and Badger Rock Middle School. GHC-SCW and its employees have been passionately supporting their school communities through holiday gift-giving since 2008.

Each year, GHC-SCW collaborates with their partner schools to compile a list of gifts needed by families, and then their employees generously sponsor children or families by donating the requested items. This year, GHC-SCW is supporting 172 children and family members, offering various items from household essentials like bath towels to toys such as craft sets and board games. These contributions extend beyond generosity; they reflect GHC-SCW’s commitment to community well-being and their core values.

“Through these partnerships, we not only provide tangible support to children and families but also cultivate a sense of connection, compassion, and shared joy during this festive season. As we continue this meaningful tradition, we recognize the transformative impact it has on both the recipients and our dedicated employees, reinforcing the spirit of giving that lies at the heart of GHC-SCW’s mission.” – Eileen Bradley, Community Care Specialist, GHC-SCW

Door Creek Church’s Support for Families and Teachers
Door Creek Church has passionately extended its support to Black Hawk Middle, Mendota Elementary, and Sandburg Elementary. Their contributions have been profound, amounting to $2,600 in support for families across the three schools. Additionally, Door Creek Church has gone the extra mile by preparing over 100 cards adorned with handwritten notes of encouragement for the hardworking teachers. Each card includes a free cappuccino/donut coupon for the Door Creek Cafe, serving as a token of appreciation and support for the educators’ tireless efforts. Moreover, demonstrating their commitment to the well-being of school staff, Door Creek Church is arranging for pastries from Just Dane to be delivered to Sandburg, Mendota, and Black Hawk Middle School on the morning of December 20th, coinciding with a staff professional development session.

“Door Creek Church delights in extending the grace of giving by providing holiday support to our Adopt-a-School partner schools. It is an opportunity for our church to love and serve people in our community and to keep the Christmas season focused on Christ. We love teachers and school staff and want to support them as they work hard to provide a quality education for all students.” – Kelly Santiago, Community Outreach Assistant, Door Creek Church

Sub-Zero’s support of Orchard Ridge Elementary School.

Sub-Zero’s Heartwarming Gesture for Orchard Ridge Elementary
Sub-Zero, renowned for its family-oriented values and commitment to creating memorable home experiences, was thrilled to partner with the Madison Public Schools Foundation to support Orchard Ridge Elementary this year. The scale of generosity was immense, with more than 200 gifts gathered for 21 families, including bikes, bedframes, and mattresses.

“Sub-Zero has been a family-owned company in the Madison community for nearly 80 years with a mission to inspire moments worth savoring in the home. We welcomed the opportunity to make holiday wishes for families at Orchard Ridge come true.  This partnership is a way for our employees to meaningfully engage and make a difference in our local community, and we hope to carry on the tradition and support a new school each year.” – Nicole Whitmore, HR Coordinator, Sub-Zero

I was left speechless and that doesn’t happen often! ❤️” – Gabbi Phillips, Community School Resource Coordinator, Orchard Ridge Elementary

Middleton Rotary Club and City on a Hill: Empowering Holiday Giving Through Holiday Toy Shops

Children enjoying City on a Hill’s Holiday Toy Shop event.

At Gillespie Middle School, December is about much more than the usual holiday excitement. It’s a time for students to explore the profound impact of giving back to others. Through the school’s “A Gift to Give Campaign,” students are engaging in discussions about kindness, generosity, and the emotions tied to giving and receiving. Culminating on December 19th, the “A Gift to Give Store” will open its doors, allowing students to use Gillespie Grizzly tickets, earned through exemplary behavior and academic achievement, to select holiday presents for their loved ones. This unique store not only fosters a fun and rewarding experience but also teaches essential lessons about empathy and serving others. Thanks to the significant donation from the Middleton Rotary Club and a teacher-initiated GoFundMe, over $1,000 worth of items have been acquired, enhancing the variety available for the students to choose from.

Simultaneously, City on a Hill is organizing its annual Holiday Toy Shop. This event aims to serve between 35 to 40 families from the Leopold Elementary community, offering a time for the community to shop for their loved ones. They will also deliver to families unable to attend, ensuring that everyone can relish the holiday season.

Reflecting on their efforts, City on a Hill’s Pastor of Discipleship, Jeff Franklin, emphasized: “We love putting on the Toy Shop because it gives us a chance to connect with and serve the Leopold community, in the hopes that everyone can enjoy a blessed holiday season.” 

Thermo Fisher Scientific and Westminster Presbyterian: Partnering to Support Cherokee Heights Middle School
Thermo Fisher Scientific and Westminster Presbyterian have united forces in a commendable collaboration to extend support to their shared Adopt-a-School partner, Cherokee Heights Middle School (CHMS). This collaboration serves as a shining example of how shared endeavors can significantly impact and uplift school communities within the Adopt-a-School program.

Recently, Thermo Fisher Scientific showed incredible generosity by purchasing $2,000 worth of essentials, encompassing items such as winter gear, socks, sweats, underwear, jackets, water bottles, and deodorant. In a strategic move aimed at convenience and accessibility, these items will be shipped to Westminster Presbyterian for storage. This arrangement aims to alleviate space constraints at CHMS while ensuring easy and immediate access for school social workers when needed. The collaborative efforts between Thermo Fisher Scientific and Westminster Presbyterian highlight a remarkable commitment to supporting Cherokee Heights Middle School. By leveraging resources and working hand in hand, they epitomize the essence of community partnership and dedication to meeting the needs of the school and its students.

Adopt-a-School partners joined forces with Anana staff in support of families this holiday season.

Anana Community Unites: Adopt-a-School Partners Collaborate with Staff for Families in Need
In a heartwarming display of solidarity and support, Anana’s Adopt-a-School partners have joined hands with Anana staff to make a profound impact on families during this holiday season. Volunteers from Attic Angel, GHC, and Blackhawk united in efforts to assist with the Toys for Tots initiative on December 14. Alongside dedicated Anana staff, this collective effort resulted in the provision of invaluable assistance to numerous families in the community. Together, they contributed immensely, providing essential resources that included gifts for families, 20 bags of groceries, and a surplus of paper products and toiletries. Their combined efforts have undoubtedly brought warmth, assistance, and essential resources to those who need it most, embodying the true spirit of community support and compassion.

Thank you all for coming and helping to make the Anana Toys for Tots event so successful! Thanks to your time, donations, and the phone call reminders, almost all of our families received their requested items and they were blessed by the extra things we were able to provide (groceries, gifts, and household essentials!). We really appreciate everything that our Adopt-a-School partners were able to assist us with!” – Caitlin Anger, Social Worker, Milele Chikasa Anana Elementary

Sandburg AaS Partners Join Forces in Support of the Sandburg Community

“Sandburg Elementary is incredibly grateful to its Adopt-a-School partners for their tremendous support of Sandburg families this holiday season.  The Association of Wisconsin School Administrators (AWSA) and their colleagues at the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators (WASDA) purchased gifts for 15 families.  Door Creek Church sponsored thirty-six children, and Group Health Cooperative is providing gifts for every member of 10 different families.  We had 77 families interested in holiday assistance and thanks to our exceptional Adopt-a-School partners and other community sponsors, we’re able to provide for all.”   Lynne Steiner, School Social Worker, Sandburg Elementary  

WEA Member Benefits Enhances Food Distribution Efforts at Whitehorse Middle School
WEA Member Benefits recently extended a helping hand to their Adopt-a-School partner, Whitehorse Middle School, by generously providing a $1,500 24 cu. ft. Manual Defrost Commercial Chest Freezer. This significant contribution aims to support the school’s twice-monthly food distributions, organized in collaboration with Seeds of Peace, another dedicated partner of Whitehorse Middle School. The addition of this freezer will notably enhance the capacity to store and distribute food, enabling the continuation of essential support to the community.

Throughout Madison, these heartwarming stories of collaboration, kindness, and generosity reflect the true essence of the holidays. The dedication shown by our Adopt-a-School partners in supporting schools and families underscores the significance of unity and compassion during this festive period. As we cherish these heartening efforts, let us be inspired to continue spreading kindness and support in our communities, not just during the holidays but throughout the year.

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Alumni: Antonio Cruz-Rodriguez

Born in Mexico, Antonio Cruz-Rodriguez moved to the United States with his family when he was just a few years old. The Cruz-Rodriguez family settled on the east side of Madison, where Antonio’s educational journey began. He attended Lapham Elementary for 4K, then moved to Hawthorne Elementary, and later to Sandburg Elementary due to new district lines. He continued his education at Sherman Middle School and graduated from East High School in 2010.

Alumni: Scott Swanson

Scott Swanson’s deep connection to the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) reflects his family’s long-standing history with the district. Growing up on the far east side of Madison, Scott attended Kennedy Elementary, Whitehorse Middle, and La Follette High School, graduating in 2002. His journey through MMSD was profoundly influenced by his parents, Paul and Ruth, both of whom were esteemed teachers and Athletic Directors at La Follette.

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