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The Importance of Service and Giving Back

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As we celebrate this holiday season, the Lewisville ISD is very blessed and grateful for all we have. First and foremost, we are thankful to be part of a nation, state and community that values children and public education.  There is no greater gift than living in a country that believes in a great public education system and recognizes it is the backbone of our democracy, as well as the conduit for any individual to achieve the American Dream.

This is reflected in our Strategic Design process, where thousands of citizens across LISD came together to share their highest hopes for our children. This effort led to a community-wide vision for our district that states, “All of our students enjoy thriving, productive lives in a future they create.”

This vision is significant in many ways, but as we embark on this holiday season it’s important to focus on the meaning of “productive.” As our Strategic Design team developed this vision, they scrutinized the meaning of each word. The team decided on the word productive because it communicated several distinct ideas. One idea is the traditional sense of the word: we want all of our students to be productive in their work. Another idea is a bit more significant during this time of year: we want all of our students to understand the importance of service and giving back to their community.

We are lucky to live in an area of abundance where many families have access to food, clothing, medical care and shelter. Not always visible are families who are in need in our community. It’s important to provide students opportunities to learn about community service.

Throughout the calendar year, our students participated on initiatives or projects to learn at deep levels the meaning of productive. These opportunities included volunteering their time helping others, hosting clothing and food drives, donating blood and raising funds for various causes.

Since January 2013, LISD students and staff have raised about $810,000 for area non-profits. This number doesn’t include student volunteer hours, the thousands of clothing items purchased and pints of blood donated. If we were able to convert these service hours and goods into costs, we would have provided more than $1 million in funds, goods and services to our local charities.  This number is huge and a reflection of how much our students and staff care about the community.

Last spring, our high school student councils led the charge of LISD’s “Give ‘em $5” campaign where they asked students and staff to donate $5 to help West ISD students. Within a week, they raised $76,000 and traveled to West ISD to meet with the Superintendent and School Board President to personally donate the check. While visiting, they saw first-hand the devastation caused by the explosion and were honored to be representing such a caring school community.

This fall, our schools hosted the annual “Stuff the Pantry” canned food drive supporting Christian Community Action. Students and staff donated 90,000 pounds of food, which is more than double what our schools contributed last year. This amount of food equates to 20,000 meals. About 1,000 of these meals helped families prepare their Thanksgiving meal.

On behalf of LISD, we wish our community a wonderful holiday season.

Dr. Stephen F. Waddell, Superintendent
Lewisville Independent School District

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