Kindness during the holiday season; PCM gives back

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by Kinsey Phipps

With the holiday season quickly approaching, sometimes seems people lose sight of what the
holidays are actually about: Kindness and family. The PCM School District has not lost sight of what the season is all about, though.  The mighty Mustangs show random acts of kindness throughout the year, especially around the holidays.
Throughout each year, the staff picks a few causes to support. They have a few days during the year when teachers may wear jeans to school if they pay $5. The money goes toward whichever cause they have chosen to contribute to at that time. This all started after the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. This year, the school district chose to use the $450 they raised to go to families in the community.
“We as a staff think it’s really important to show random acts of kindness to our students throughout the school year,” said the PCM High School Counselor Casey McMurray.
One of the staff members at PCM put helping the community into one of her lessons in a very unique and thoughtful way. Ashley Carter, English teacher, was teaching “A Christmas Carol” in her English 10 class.
“A central theme in the story is charity and caring about others. I contacted Blank Children’s Hospital, and I was told that many kids would be stuck in the hospital in their beds for the holiday season,” Carter said. “Our 10th graders made craft bags (lunch sacks that they decorated containing supplies to make Christmas ornaments) to give to the kids at Blank. This way, they have an activity to do that is also festive.”
Carter is giving extra credit to students who bring in a toy for the Toys for Tots box as well. The high school does a Toys for Tots box every year.
The PCM Key Club is an organization that does service work around the community regularly. During this holiday season, they decided to do a canned-food drive for the Prairie City Food Pantry. All of the high school’s advisories are collecting canned food, and the advisory with the most food collected will be given a prize.
The PCM FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) is also giving back to the school district. This is an organization full of teens in the high school who come together weekly to worship with one another. This year, the members of the FCA decided to collect hats, mittens, scarves and other winter items to donate to the PCM elementary schools: Prairie City Elementary and Monroe Elementary.
Several PCM schools are participating in a very heartwarming cause. Four-year-old Iowan Alexis Van Bochove has a rare form of brain cancer called DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma). According to a flier, the family is asking people from all over to send Christmas cards to Bochove to lift her spirits. If you would like to send a card as well, you can send it to Alexis Van Bochove at c/o Flowers by Jan, 905 Central Ave., Hawarden, Iowa, 51023.
The PCM Student Government gets in on giving back in a big way as well. The organization adopted a local family two years ago to help them with the holidays. It was so successful, they decided to do it again this year. The students come together to collect donations from surrounding businesses and families within the community. With the donations, Student Government gets things the family needs, as well as a few things on their wish list. The items are then wrapped up and delivered to the family.
“We try and choose a family that is in need or who has come across hard times that we can help through their difficult time. We can’t always fix things for them, but we sure hope to brighten up the holidays for them,” said High School Teacher Tara Williams. “I think it’s important for our students to understand what it means to help others and to know what compassion is. They work so hard for this family to enjoy the holidays, and we couldn’t be more proud of their efforts. To see them so overjoyed to give others something is a wonderful thing.”
With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s easy to forget what the season is really about. As the snow falls and the sleigh bells ring, think about what you can do to give back. Even if it’s just something little, every little thing you do can make a big difference.