Building a community for kids

Brandie Collins
Posted 2/29/24

LUSK – Amanda Martinez has been busy as chairperson for Lusk Community for Kids program. It is an extra service they and volunteers provide for Niobrara School District #1. The program is not …

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Building a community for kids


LUSK – Amanda Martinez has been busy as chairperson for Lusk Community for Kids program. It is an extra service they and volunteers provide for Niobrara School District #1. The program is not just to help the children, but also to help with building relationships and providing event for families, parents, kids, staff and the community.

Lusk Community for Kids had a relaunch in the beginning of 2023. Due to the epidemic when it first began, they had to wait until they could relaunch. Since then, they have been very busy. The board consists of Martinez as chairwoman, Andee Meng has co-chairwoman, Tiffany Assman as treasurer, and Lacy Hanson as secretary. The board has been working hard at raising money.

The focus is on kids, supporting education, supporting the school. They also want to help improve communication.

According to Martinez, the beginning of 2023, when they first began, the group organized a family game night, they have done Muffins for Moms and Doughnuts for Dads. This year they bumped up the schedule to include Valentine’s with Mom and next week will be Doughnuts with Dads. These early morning occasions start the day off with goodies for the children and their parents at Lusk Elementary/Middle School (LEMS).

They coordinated these events to coincide with the student council assemblies, so when the parents come, they are there to attend as well.

The group purchases all the goodies and run the events through fundraisers they host year-round. They had purchased matching t-shirts for teachers and children, that they wear during field trips. This is an immense help with keeping track of the students.

The fundraisers that help to provide funds for the group has been hosting the Mustard Seed Dinner. They volunteer to run the concession stands, they also run the pop machines at the schools.

“We hope to have a walk-a-thon this spring,” Martinez said. “We hope to make it a timed event during the LEMS track day.”

With track day being split between the younger and older students there is a time in between events. They are hoping for parents, family and friends will walk. Also, those that attend would be able to sponsor a kid as well.

“We also try to encourage our teachers and support them,” Martinez said. “We have a great team, and we asked ourselves what we could do to show our support to them.” They have tried their best to include community members to show their support too.

During teacher appreciation week they did a different theme every day of the week. They also provide snacks during parent teachers conferences. They created a form the teachers could fill out if they needed help in the classroom, that way if they needed a volunteer to come in and, for example, cut pieces for them or to even spend a few minutes of their day reading to the children. Someone takes the request and brings it to the community to help find volunteers to help.

Looking towards the future they are planning on doing a bit more than last year for fundraising events and things for more community involvement.

“Last year was getting our feet under us,” Martinez said. “This year were able to chart things better.”

They were able to do bingo for books in the spring, families participated, and winners won books during the event. Another event was when they brought in an authentic Native American Chief and Art Mobile during Native American Day.

The Niobrara Education Association nominated Lusk community for kids to the Wyoming Education Association as community partnership group and selected them as community group of the year. They will be heading to Casper on March 16 for their award.

If anyone would like to get involved to help or volunteer, they are encouraged to attend the meetings for Lusk community for kids.

The next meeting for Lusk community for kids will be March 18 at LEMS in the Professional Development room at it will be at 5:30 p.m.