This year when United Way of Walla Walla reaches out for donations in support of its 2017-2018 Annual Fundraising Campaign, community members will have an opportunity to check the new Adopt-a-Blue Devil program box to help support students in financial need participate fully in school activities. This exciting new program is a collaboration between Walla Walla Public Schools and United Way of Walla Walla.
“Whether a student is lacking money to pay for a pair of cleats, rent a band instrument, purchase a graduation cap and gown, or pay dues to join a school club/activity, the newly-created Adopt-a-Blue Devil Program is here to help,” said Superintendent Wade Smith. “One of our four strategic district goals involves engaging students in our academic, athletic, and co-curricular programs. Unfortunately, many of our students lack the financial resources nowadays to participate. This program will serve instrumental in ensuring that no willing student in Walla Walla is turned away due to their family’s limited financial capacity.”
The Adopt-a-Blue Devil concept took shape this fall when Superintendent Smith and Executive Director of United Way of Walla Walla Christy Lieuallen met to discuss collaborative efforts between their two entities. Smith shared with Lieuallen how impactful poverty levels have become in Walla Walla as nearly 60% of the district’s students qualify for free and/or reduced lunch. This figure has jumped three times what it was 25 years ago. This school year the district lowered ASB fees and eliminated middle school pay to participate fees. Smith reports there are still significant costs related to other programming and student participation that limit involvement.
“Last school year the district’s employee sponsored United Way campaign program generated $14,000 district-wide through payroll deduction,” said Lieuallen. “We are hoping that this year, with the Adopt-a-Blue Devil Program and additional support from other outside entities, we will be able to double that amount.”
All Walla Walla Public Schools payroll deductions for the Adopt-a-Blue Devil fund will be maintained and accounted for by United Way of Walla Walla. Requests to access the resources may be submitted by teachers, coaches, club advisors, and students. All funding requests will be reviewed and approved by Walla Walla school officials.
“We encourage staff to consider a $20 dollar per month pledge to give a Blue Devil or future Blue Devil (middle school student) a chance to prepare for college, learn new skills, stay engaged and make new friends without the worry of how their family will pay for it,” states Lieuallen. “However, any contribution level will help to sponsor a Walla Walla Public Schools student in need.”
Walla Walla Public Schools employees will receive an email with a link to the online payroll deduction form. Community members wishing to donate may visit the United Way of Walla Walla website: http://www.unitedwayww.org/