RACINE — The inaugural celebration of Love Week kicked off today as Racine police officers and pastor Tylre Butler of Hope City Church visited nine different locations throughout Racine Unified School District to honor educators who continually show love to their schools and the community.
This special partnership between the Racine Police Department’s Community Oriented Policing Unit and Hope City Church began with an officer who had the goal of demonstrating love to educators in a big way.
Nine educators were presented with $100 gift cards to The Maple Table, a bouquet of flowers from Flower Company of Racine, and Sunshine Awards today.
Family and friends were also invited to each school’s gathering to help celebrate their loved ones receiving the awards.
“These employees’ infectious and enthusiastic personalities are no secret to those around them,” said a news release.
The first leg of the event was a secret. Educators were surprised at Dr. Jones Elementary, Bull Early Education Center, Mitchell School, Fratt Elementary, Knapp Elementary, Starbuck Middle School, Goodland Montessori, RUSD Central Office, and Park High School on Thursday (Feb. 2).
The presentation of awards and surprise school visits from local area law enforcement will continue tomorrow.
A total of 20 awards will be distributed throughout Love Week.
Hope City Church provides hope
“Since the beginning, we’ve determined to be a church that’s in the city and for the city, that’s even our mission statement,” said Butler. “We want to be for the city as well. So, serving our community, living in our city, is not a put-on for us. It’s not a once-a-year thing, it’s part of our mission.”
He explained that he was approached by Officer Travis Brady to see if they were interested in this unique partnership. Butler said it was a no-brainer to get involved.
“10% of all of our income is designated for outreach,” he said.
This is how Love Week was funded.
At Bull Early Education Center, Donna Walker was honored for her continual attentiveness to young learners.
Walker is an educational assistant at the school. She was surprised by the school visit and shocked to hear her name called as the recipient.
“You go above and beyond and you’re such a soothing voice for so many of our friends when they get a little dysregulated. She just keeps it even-keeled, it brings them down too, when they really need that most,” said Yolanda Allen, principal at Bee Early Learning Center.
Prior to teaching, she worked in payroll for 25 years. Now, she’s enjoying her retirement working with 3 and 4-year-olds.
“Kids give you so much that it keeps your heart lighter,” said Walker.
Educational Assistant Kim Langston was also shocked to see officers and her loved ones at Mitchell School.
“I was surprised. I was so happy to see all of these students,” said Langston.
They gathered in the library to honor Langston for her dedication inside — and outside — of school. Working in this position for three years, Kim has extended herself to help both in the classroom and beyond.
“Every day Ms. Kim comes to work with a positive attitude and love for every student or staff member she sees. She has offered to cook for staff members and families during times of struggle. She would offer the shirt off her back if needed. Her genuine personality brightens up any and every room she walks into. We could not be more blessed to have her here as part of our Mitchell Family,” wrote an individual on the nomination form.
At Fratt Elementary School, students involved in the Girls Thrive after-school program, gathered in the library to give thanks to their teacher Roslind Hardy.
Hardy leads the group, which is designed for 4th and 5th-grade girls, to engage with their emotional well-being and to drive empowerment into their hearts. There are about 35 girls enrolled.
The Special Education teacher was told there was a dispute she needed to intervene with, involving girls from her program, only to find out there was an all-school virtual assembly happening in her honor.
“My whole purpose of doing this (the after-school program) is to inspire them and to hopefully help with their character. If we teach them how to persevere and how to take a stand for something, their perseverance, and their character, it builds their hope. And that is totally what these young girls need. Here’s the thing, they all come from different walks of life, they all struggle, and nobody knows. It’s the quiet storm and nobody knows,” said the educator.
Hardy is working to change the future by investing in the youth at Fratt Elementary. It’s why her fellow coworkers believe she was the perfect person for the award.
“She spreads this (knowledge) around everywhere, not just here, she does it in the community too,” said Mrs. Norma, a coworker.
At Park High School, Dwight Trieber, a chemistry teacher, was honored for his devotion to his students and nonstop devotion to Park High School.
His small ceremony took place during a staff meeting.
Trieber has been educating students at Park for 17 years. Within those years, he has also served as a volunteer at various after-school programs including leading the National Honor Society program. Trieber is often present at a multitude of school events like dances, sporting events and extracurricular activities.
For numerous reasons, he received this accolade.
“I think for the longevity that Trieber brings in, not just during the school day, but after the school day,” said Bill O’Malley, directing principal.
The reason O’Malley believed he deserves this honor is because of “how much love he shows to our building, the students, this community.”
Community policing makes a difference
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