A ready supply of clothing, books, games and more await students in need at Lincoln Elementary School in Janesville. The family resource center—the largest in the city’s elementary schools—is welcoming and friendly, and consequently a busy location, according to staff.
“There’s eight (resource centers) running in the district,” said Emma Dieter, the family resource center coordinator at Lincoln Elementary School. “Every elementary school has one. This is the largest in the district. It’s also the only one with a clothing closet.”
The resource center is funded through community donations. Dieter said it has received about $2,500 in donations this year. The center has applied and received Title I grants for this school year.
“Last year I got a grant from Walmart for $1,000,” Dieter said. “We were able to provide adults and children with boots and coats.”
There are many students who are in transitional housing or homeless in the district, so the resource center is used quite often. A family from Central America recently moved into the district, and the resource center was able to provide the family members with six bags of clothes and some hygiene products.
“We’ve had six students come in for clothes and shoes this morning,” Dieter said. “It’s a very well-used resource.”
At the resource center, you can find a variety of clothing items for all seasons, hygiene products, books (both nonfiction and fiction), puzzles and DVDs.
“They check out the items for two weeks,” Dieter said. “If they lose something or a game is broken, or the dog eats it or whatever, there’s never any penalty. I just ask them to let me know. I can buy a new one. Students can check out something again, straight away. It’s very friendly.”
Dieter also offers cooking classes to students at Lincoln Elementary. In the classes, Dieter uses produce from the community garden outside the school. She is also helping students make a cookbook. In the winter months, plants are moved inside the resource center.
The resource center is always looking for donations. Currently, they are in need of sweaters and hygiene items for district families. Dieter is available at the family resource center each week on Tuesdays from 8 to 11 a.m., Wednesdays from 11 to 3 p.m. and Thursdays from 8 to 11 a.m.
For more information on how to donate, contact Dieter at emma.dieter @janesville.k12.wi.us.