Middle school students reach out to homeless students

Pictured: Riley Schwantz, Leah Miller, Hannah Ewings, Spencer Pabon, Sierrah Jolliffe, Ashley Otteson, Jake Griepentrog, Kayleigh Wheeler, Colby Hartig, Elli Esser, and Taylor VonBehren
Pictured Front: Riley Schwantz, Leah Miller, Hannah Ewings, Spencer Pabon, Sierrah Jolliffe, Ashley Otteson. Back: Jake Griepentrog, Kayleigh Wheeler, Colby Hartig, Elli Esser, and Taylor VonBehren

Students in the Badger Team at DeForest Area Middle School recently completed an outreach project for Madison homeless children.  The project, called “The Badger Cup Program,” was started in 1997 for students in the Madison Transition Education Program.

The DeForest sixth graders, led by their teachers Jodi Acker, Tammy Breitlow, Bill Porter, Cathy Moore, and Tracy Biodrowski, collected over 130 UW-Madison Badger cups and filled them with personally designed friendship cards and bracelets.  Students also brought in school supplies, candy, hats, mittens, and toys to help fill these cups.

The activity has become intIMG_0266 IMG_0278ergenerational 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 a connection with Windsor resident 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.  Shepherd knit over 100 hats for the Badger Team’s project.

Janie Koester, the Madison transition education teacher, says these special reminders of friendship make a huge difference in the lives of students.

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