For weeks we collected gifts under the UE Christmas tree, purchased by our employees and destined for an amazing fourth grade class at San Diego’s Monarch School. We used a giving tree with a list of 24 students’ names and three gifts each, allowing employees to pick what to buy. Delivering the gifts to the class and seeing the look of pure joy on the students’ faces was a company highlight for the holidays–and the entire year.
It was also the first time we had to explain to a forth grade class what Underground Elephant does, and they actually caught on quickly; faster than most adults, in fact. The kids were also pleasantly surprised to see that we brought along our 6-foot company mascot. After everyone opened their gifts, we shared cookies and juice and played with all the cool new toys. The hot ticket item in the class was the kendama, and the class patiently showed us some cool new tricks.
In addition to being excited to play with all their new toys and share stories with us, the kids were also incredibly gracious and thoughtful. For us, that was the greatest gift of the entire experience: getting to spend an afternoon with this amazing class of students and remember what it was like to be in the fourth grade. As a token of their appreciation, the students presented us with amazing Snowman Christmas cards.
Dear 4th Grade Class, thank you for the Christmas cards and for letting us spend an afternoon with you. Also, a big thank you to Erin E. Spiewak and Katie Bradel of Monarch School for making us feel so welcome on campus. The entire visit was a perfection, and we can’t wait to return next year.
Monarch has served San Diego for more than 25 years, beginning as a one-room education center and growing into a K-12 school offering a comprehensive program designed to help students impacted by homelessness. We serve nearly 450 students a year. Monarch’s goal is to accelerate student achievement in four key growth areas: Academic, Social, Emotional, and Life Skills.
Currently there are more than 20,000 homeless children in San Diego County, according to the San Diego County Office of Education. These students often experience complex trauma through ongoing exposure to lack of shelter and basic necessities, violence, neglect, family mental illness, sexual assault and stress. Monarch students live in shelters, motels, in vehicles with their families, parks, or doubled-up with other families. They’ve often been absent from school for long periods of time and are achieving below grade level when they enroll.
Learn more at: http://monarchschools.org/about/#sthash.wtLZTXqu.dpuf