West Flint Optimist Club, the nonprofit organization devoted to supporting local children’s charities, presented Kayla Bright with a check for $1,000 at the Swartz Creek Schools Board of Education Meeting on October 14th. The money will make it possible for the 6th-8th-grade special education class to participate in community-based instruction. Kayla had students from her class there to make short speeches to the Board and the public about what they have learned from this type of instruction. The strategy is to get the special education students into the community for two reasons: so students can learn how to function independently in public settings, and also so the public becomes more aware of community members with special needs.

Last year Kayla Bright applied for and received a grant from the NEA Foundation for the funding. This year the grant was not available and the students of the special education class were going to miss out.

“We were able to fund 5 of the 7 field trips for the class. Kayla Bright has done such a remarkable job of getting these children out into the community for lessons that you just can’t open a book to learn.” states Jeff Dennings, president of the West Flint Optimist Club.

The club is sponsoring trips to:

  • Sloan Museum and Longway Planetarium to learn about the history of our community, provide an option for a recreational activity in the area, and also allow them to practice communication skills with those who work at these locations.
  • Meijer to learn money and basic calculations. They discuss the issue of want vs. need before shopping to show the importance of prioritizing as adults. Communication skills will come into play as well.
  • Buell Lake to learn about the science of nature and the importance of safety.
  • Humane Society to learn about caring for animals properly and how much responsibility is involved in pet care. Students also perform community service while at this location.
  • Michigan State Capitol to learn about our government and history. Students learn about democracy, the importance of voting, the three branches of government, and the jobs of each branch. Students see the capitol building and are able to see where some of these important jobs take place.

For more information on how to support more projects like this, you can visit www.OptimistsInAction.com. You can also email Jeff at jeffescm@gmail.com. Click here to download the press release.