Cool Schools: Marian High School lunch program builds a better community
MISHAWAKA, Ind. --
Marian High School has had a summer lunch program for more than 15 years, but now one woman's idea is making sure the program doesn’t just serve up a bagged lunch, but a learning opportunity.
"I wanted it to be more than just a lunch,” said Cami Whitten, the food service director at Marian High School. "I wanted it to be a learning experience, something fun, something they could take away from."
So Whitten decided to start bringing in authority figures in the community to get to know the next generation.
"I started with the Mishawaka Police Department, the fire department, and I called our mayor,” said Whitten. “And they all came in and they had lunch with the kids."
The visits started last summer, and after seeing success Whitten has continued them into this year.
"Anytime you can introduce children to something they may find later on in a stressful situation, if you introduce it into a friendly environment, it's not going to be so stressful the next time. They're going to know that that person is there for them," said Whitten.
And that's what Mayor Dave Wood wants the kids to know too.
"We're here to be very accessible for all of our citizens. In this case we get a great opportunity to do it with our youngsters," he said. “I get to have some pretty interesting conversations."
But those conversations he hopes are starting relationships that will build a better community.
"The more of those interactions and contacts and relationships we can build now it just makes for a better community now and in the future," said Wood.