A different kind of ‘Fab Five’
Teamwork makes the dream work
By JONI BUMBARGER
For The Express
LOCK HAVEN — With college basketball and almost everything else being suspended, we are looking at a new kind of March Madness right now. However, it seems a good time to talk about something positive going on in our community. Although, it has nothing to do with basketball, we have a “Fab Five” right here in our area. The team consists of The Clinton County Community Foundation, West Branch Drug and Alcohol Abuse Commission, Faith Chapel United Methodist Church, Keystone Central School District, and IMPACT (a local coalition of parents and community members).
Founded in 2012, IMPACT has coordinated team efforts dedicated to enhancing the lives of local students by bringing in programs and projects such as Challenge Day, Rachel’s Challenge, various motivational speakers, and the new Central Mountain Middle School store, The Revolution Rack.
The Clinton County Community Foundation is known for its generosity and community outreach and has been providing substantial grants to various local charities since 1968. The Foundation has supported the goals of IMPACT since 2014 with nearly $50,000 in grant monies, and has already committed $5,250 to the cause for the 2020-2021 school year.
This year the Clinton County Community awarded IMPACT $8,700 which was instrumental in achieving the local coalition’s goals: hosting Renaissance Education motivational speakers, PC Rocks (Dr. Phillip Campbell) who brought the message of changing the school’s culture by loving others and self, and Mike Smith, co-founder of two nonprofits – Rabble Mill which works to end generational poverty and Find Your Grind which is a career education platform for schools that connect students to jobs and lifestyles of the 21st century. IMPACT also purchased books
I See You, I Hear You & I Love You (Phil Campbell) and Legacy vs. Likes (Mike Smith) for all teachers and administrators at all campuses (grades 6-12) in order to continue the progress and momentum that these programs have initiated.
When asked what they thought about these programs, CMMS students used words such as “cool, inspirational, really fun, awesome, crazy, entertaining, upbeat, energetic, amazing, very educational and useful, made an impact.” And the most common answer, “I loved it!”
A vital resource in our area, West Branch Drug and Alcohol Abuse Commission has been a coach and team player by supporting, mentoring, and embracing IMPACT’s volunteers which this year include CMHS seniors Enya Spangler, Madison Lowery, Rhiannon Williams, and Zoe Eck. As part of their senior project, these students are holding a clothing drive at CMHS which benefits The Revolution Rack as well as organizing the middle school Spring Fling dance to raise funds for future motivational programs. (The dance is currently scheduled for April 17, but plans have been put on hold for now due to COVID-19 and social distancing.)
“The West Branch Drug & Alcohol Abuse Commission is honored to be a part of IMPACT’s efforts and associated with its other partners. Building strong, healthy youth is the real key to preventing substance use disorders and a number of other issues. IMPACT is focused on doing exactly that,” said Jennifer A. Reeder, Assistant Director of West Branch Drug & Alcohol Abuse Commission.
Getting little attention for its contributions to the team, Faith Chapel United Methodist Church has assisted the efforts of IMPACT behind the scenes, since its inception. The “small country church with a big heart for service” has discretely donated everything from significant funding to concession stand and school store items. The church, based in rural Howard near Bald Eagle State Park, recently donated self-care items with a motivational note that were handed out as free gifts at The Revolution Rack. One of the notes read as follows, “Just in case you have forgotten today: You matter. You are loved. You are worthy. Have a good day!”
The members of Faith Chapel also provide meal boxes for families in need when requested, especially during various holidays.
“It has been an absolute pleasure working with IMPACT and its behind-the-scene partners, seeing all of the positivity that has been brought into our schools. It’s exciting to be part of an organization who is hardworking and eager to mentor our youth. I am thrilled to see what the future will bring with this partnership,” said Danielle Hardy, Prevention Program Specialist with West Branch Drug & Alcohol Abuse Commission.
Last but not least, we have Keystone Central School District. CMMS and CMHS administration and staff have been instrumental in developing a positive relationship with IMPACT and welcoming the team effort. Christina Onuskanich, Renaissance speaker coordinator, and Sara Strouse, The Revolution Rack ally, are standout teachers who go above and beyond in their daily commitments to their students.
“The CMMS administration, staff, and students are extremely appreciative of our partnership with IMPACT. Our school has benefited greatly from the numerous opportunities provided by IMPACT. Additionally, our new student store, The Revolution Rack has become an amazing resource for students and families. IMPACT is helping to reshape a positive culture within CMMS, and we look forward to growing this relationship,” said David Peters, principal CMMS.
So, what exactly is The Revolution Rack?
The Revolution Rack is a student store at Central Mountain Middle School which sells new and gently used clothing, shoes, and accessories as well as new gift items, school supplies, hygiene items, pet toys and treats, hair accessories, ear buds, jewelry, lollipops, gum, and more. Students may use cash, gift cards or Pride Paw Points earned at school to pay for their purchases. The store also helps local students and families in need in various ways.
When asked, “In general, what do you think about The Revolution Rack?” Students answered with words like, “Cool, awesome, good, neat, nice, fun, amazing, useful, great, and — I like it! I love it!”
Besides having the opportunity to make inexpensive purchases at the school store, students are also improving upon their math skills, budgeting, decision-making, and the joy of buying for and giving to others. Student volunteers are developing customer service skills as well as improving upon their math skills.
IMPACT/The Revolution Rack Coordinator, Joni Bumbarger, commented, “The generosity and willingness of these various groups and individuals are such a blessing to IMPACT and the students we serve. They never cease to amaze me. I thank God for them because they make this volunteer work, not only successful, but also joyful and rewarding. And, the student volunteers have been awesome. They, too, are a blessing. It is such a pleasure to work with them.”
If you would like to purchase a gift card for a student for The Revolution Rack, please email Joni Bumbarger at email@example.com. You can purchase gift cards for a particular student or you can purchase gift cards that will be given to a student in need as determined by the school’s guidance office.
Coming off the bench, Reese’s Print Shop and numerous school and community individuals have continued to donate goods to IMPACT over the years, as well the Wayne Township Landfill John B. Hoy, Jr. Memorial Golf Tournament benefit which was a big contributor to the group’s mission in 2018 and the Keystone Central Foundation who has supported the cause as well.
If you would like to make a donation of middle school appropriate, new or gently used clothing or shoes to The Revolution Rack, you can drop items off to the CMMS office from 8 am – 3 pm Monday through Friday (when schools re-open). If you would like to send a monetary donation, please make your check out and mail to: West Branch Drug and Alcohol Abuse Commission, 213 W. 4th St., Williamsport, PA 17701 with IMPACT in the subject line.