When fostering the best environment for our children’s futures, a school district has to not only look at what goes on within its walls, but outside of them as well. If families within the community are struggling to make ends meet, then those children will be at a serious detriment. Thanks to a huge philanthropic initiative from Lyons Central School District, the Community Collaboration is doing everything in its power to support those families in need.

This year, the Community Collaboration food pantry and clothing collection started making waves in Lyons. With the help of donations, the group has compiled a heap of resources including bed frames, mattresses, clothing, blankets and much more. The goal is to make people aware the school is here to support them, says Lyons Superintendent Donald Putnam.

Sometimes unforeseeable things happen within the community and families end up struggling. The Community Collaboration was set up to prepare for those unexpected moments, to supply immediate relief to those who need it. Families are the backbone of the community and Lyons is dedicated to supporting them from the ground up.

“If we have strong families, families that are meeting the needs of their kids, then they are going to be successful, happy and healthy,” Putnam says. “They will make great students.”

So many people have already done their part in making the Collaboration a huge success. Students have helped by processing items and setting up inventory for the closet. Volunteering will give these kids a greater sense of charitability and hopefully that altruistic attitude will continue to spread across the student body. The community has also given back regularly to help the Collaboration thrive. Some volunteers have helped with important events and services like community meals, while others have donated an influx of useful items. The alumni backing at Lyons is strong and continues to support the student body there.

This year alone, the Collaboration has already made a huge difference. The Back to School Bash provided students with a backpack full of school supplies, and even hosted families to a lovely picnic during orientation. Later during homecoming week, a flu clinic and mobile mammogram were made available to students.

The Collaboration has also been effective in those unforeseen moments. Back in July and August, a trailer park in Lyons had its power shut down. During this time, the school opened up its doors to residents. Parents could bring their kids, watch movies and eat snacks. Community members also donated gas to help keep their generators running. It’s with quick responses like these that make the effort worth it.

Putnam suggests that the school is always looking to branch out and find more ways to support families in town. One of those avenues is through grants. In the future they’re hoping to set up a few grants and appoint a community service coordinator to help families more directly. Another way to grow their outreach is through connections to community agencies. By coordinating their efforts with organizations in the community, they can respond to areas of concern rapidly and with precision. Integrating community agencies into their events also opens opportunities for families to learn about the resources they have in the area.

The Collaboration is always looking to do bigger and better things. It’s all made possible thanks to the time and donations given by those within the community who can afford to give a helping hand. Look out for community events on the school’s newsletter and social media pages. But until then, why not donate and make a difference in the future of Lyon’s developing youths.