Hosler Middle School special education students, showing compassion and empathy for victims devastated by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, spent the month of September collecting jars of peanut butter to donate to local food banks as part of Feeding America’s Hunger Action month. A portion of the donations will go to areas affected by the hurricanes.
My Buddy Club, which consists of 22 Hosler seventh-grade students with special needs, partnered with The Cheesecake Factory in Cerritos to reach out to the Lynwood community and ultimately raised 875 jars of peanut butter.
“I could not be prouder of the students who have so graciously given their time to help others in need,” Hosler seventh-grade Special Day Class teacher and food drive coordinator Brenda Miramontes said. “The objective of My Buddy Club is to create an atmosphere of awareness, kindness, social responsibility and friendship. This has been an empowering experience for our students.”
A special ceremony was held on Sept. 29 to commemorate the food drive and tally the final jars of peanut butter donated. Throughout September, Hosler students who made contributions received free snow-cones at lunch.
“I feel very good about giving back to the people in need,” Hosler student Adrian E. Ruiz said. “It makes me feel good to be in this club.”
My Buddy Club was created as a way to encourage students with special needs to mix with the general education population, and gives them a place to meet and hang out with new friends. It was started by Miramontes, fellow seventh-grade SDC teacher Connor Salazar, and instructional assistants Amanda Diaz and Isam Peguess.
“As a Lynwood alumni, I wanted to start a club that promotes a spirit of comradeship and inclusion of students with disabilities,” Diaz said. “It is my way of giving back and showing our students that they can be part of something bigger than themselves.”
The enterprising club has become deeply involved with fundraising for charitable causes. Upcoming projects for the 2017-18 school year include an anti-bullying campaign, creating a campus recycling program, teacher appreciation and an Autism Walk. In 2016, My Buddy Club raised more than $600 in two hours with their first Autism Walk.
Lynwood Unified School District encourages its faculty and administrators to work with students and their families to promote extra-curricular activities that instill positive character values, and collaboration with community agencies.
“We want every Lynwood student to be not only great achievers but also world citizens who positively impact our society,” LUSD Superintendent Gudiel R. Crosthwaite said. “By contributing to the effort to combat hunger, and helping victims of natural disasters, our students are learning the value of integrity and virtue, qualities that will serve them well as the leaders of tomorrow.”