Meg Shepherd, a resident in Windsor, is helping a team of 6th grade students at DeForest Area Middle School with their annual “Badger Cup Program.” The project, which began in 1997 by retired teacher Debi Shepherd-Wundrow, helps Madison homeless children in their district’s Transition Education Program.
Students in the sixth grade Badger Team, led by teachers Jodi Acker, Tracy Biodrowski, Tammy Breitlow, Cathy Moore, and Bill Porter, are collecting UW-Madison Badger cups and will fill them with personally designed friendship cards and bracelets. Students will also bring in school supplies, candy, mittens, and toys to help fill these cups in time for a Thanksgiving delivery.
The activity has become intergenerational in recent years through a partnership with LINK-ages (a school and community inter-generational committee) and DeForest Area Public Library’s Dewey Stitchers (knit,crochet,fiber arts) group. Jane Henze, adult program coordinator at the library and member of the LINK-ages committee, made the connection between Meg Shepherd and the Badger Team project. Shepherd, who is a regular member of the Stitchers group, has been hand-knitting hats for the project since January. For Shepherd, each hat represents one day of her life, as it takes about 10 hours to knit each one. Badger Team teacher Cathy Moore picked up the 170 hats at a recent LINK-ages meeting.
Janie Koester, the Madison transition education teacher, says these special reminders of friendship make a huge difference in the lives of students.