NAMPA PUBLIC LIBRARY
The Nampa Public Library has been writing the book on community partnerships for decades. The library partners with Nampa schools to provide materials, programs, and spaces to inform, enrich, and support the community.
Each year they provide an informative library booth at Family Nights, Literacy Nights, and Back to School Nights across the district. Their facility also is a popular field trip destination, as well as a fertile learning ground for student interns.
The Nampa Library has provided weekly programming for the district’s Migrant Summer School for several years, and the Bookmobile staff regularly visit New Horizons Dual Language Magnet School.
In Their Own Words
In an ongoing partnership with Union School, the Nampa Library
CROSSROADS COMMUNITY CHURCH
Crossroads Community Church believes the best way to strengthen the community is by supporting its students and families. So, for the past several years they’ve made it a priority to form strong relationships with the schools closest to the church. These include Columbia High School, East Valley Middle School, Greenhurst Elementary, Park Ridge Elementary, and Endeavor Elementary.
Their robust outreach efforts began about 15 years ago with the donation of backpacks full of school supplies collected by members of the congregation.
“Park Ridge was right in our backyard,” said Michele Powell, Crossroads’ school partnership liaison. “We’d host a fun event complete with bounce houses, and the kids would take home a backpack.
The church still donates school supplies every year, but their work has shifted to include more schools and a variety of services. Church staff and members strive to meet with and develop relationships with each school. Powell often shows up at schools with granola bars or other snacks as a means to prompt discussion about a school’s focus for the year and how Crossroads can provide resources to help them succeed.
Armed with a list of needs, she then meets with a subgroup of the congregation to problem solve solutions. Sometimes they’re able to provide help quickly.
“One year we learned a family desperately needed a refrigerator. Within hours we had one delivered and installed,” she said.
Crossroads also provides meals for staff before parent-teacher conferences, Thanksgiving and Christmas gift cards for families in need, new and gently used clothing for kids who need to change during the school day, and fun snacks to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week. Earlier this year, volunteers painted two classrooms that were being converted into sensory rooms.
In Their Own Words
Endeavor Elementary normally receives a large donation of shoes from realtors every year. Last year they were unable to do it, so someone called Crossroads. An announcement was made in church and we got the funds for that, then coordinated everything with the school. The result was that every kid at Endeavor got a new pair of shoes in the spring.
How to Connect?
To reach out to Crossroads or get involved as a volunteer, contact [email protected].
FOSTER GRANDPARENT PROGRAM
Across the district, senior citizens are forging relationships with students in Nampa elementary schools to help keep them engaged and learning. Foster Grandparent volunteers mentor and tutor kids, providing dependable, encouraging support in the classroom.
Foster Grandparents primarily focus on helping with reading and literacy skills, although volunteers also are allowed to follow their passions in other subjects, such as math and science. To ensure the Grandparents form meaningful connections with students, they must commit to five hours over at least two days per week; some work up to 40 hours per week.
Nampa volunteers account for more than half of the postings in the Treasure Valley, making the district a key partner for the program.
The Grandparents often work in more than one classroom each week, may help with different grades and subjects, and sometimes even switch between schools. But they all strive to build strong rapport with teachers, who come to rely on their assistance in the face of limited resources.
“Grandma Coralee is so very special to not only my classroom but our entire grade level,” reported another teacher. “She is so dependable and loving to all the kiddos. They absolutely adore her!”
Foster Grandparents are 55 or older and living on a limited income. The program pays a $4 per hour non-taxable stipend. Locally, it is funded through an AmeriCorps Seniors grant. Volunteers undergo four different background checks – statewide, national, sex offender and driving record. They also receive 20 hours of training, including shadowing a current volunteer, before being given an assignment.
The program’s success is reflected in their success in the classroom. One teacher reported that her class of 29 students saw 100 percent growth in math and 93 percent growth in reading.
“For a class of this size to have these types of results is atypical to say the least. I absolutely contribute these results to the caring, consistent, and coordinated work with my grandparent volunteers.”
In Their Own Words
“I read the book ‘Tacky, the Penguin’ to this first-grade class. They were so attentive and interested. Of course, at least half of the class wanted to tell me something. I told them to wait until I was through reading and they could line up and each share a little tidbit with me. There were probably 12 students in line. They shared things like ‘My dad is just like Tacky,’ and, ‘I have to go to daycare tomorrow and I am scared.’ At the very end of the line was a little dark-haired girl. She had waited very patiently. She came up to me and sidled really close so she could whisper in my ear. She said, ‘Grandma Judy, thank you for coming to our school.’ She brought tears to my eyes. I told her teacher and her class how much that message touched me. It made me cry then and now. I think it was a message that I needed.”
How to Volunteer
If you know someone who would like to become a volunteer or if you are seeking a Foster Grandparent volunteer for your school, contact Asia Miller, Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator, at 208-947-4280 or [email protected]. Or visit https://www.jannus.org/program/foster-grandparent-program-of-the-treasure-valley to learn more about the program.
BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB OF CANYON COUNTY
Boys and Girls Club programming fills the gap between home and school for thousands of local kids through the age of 18, serving on average more than 550 kids per day. Membership is just $25 per year and is open to all students, regardless of income.
In Nampa, the program is offered not only at the main site on Stampede Drive but also at two elementary schools – Iowa and Willow Creek. At both these sites, even the nominal annual fee is waived thanks to funding from the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program.
The longstanding partnership between the District and the Club helps kids succeed in school and in life as they learn to grow and thrive in a supervised, sustainable, and safe environment.
In the after-school program, kids can do their homework, participate in enrichment activities, get help with their studies, and enjoy a healthy supper.
The Club also provides year-round programming featuring a variety of activities, including sports, arts and crafts, field trips, and a preschool program that helps children be prepared for school and learning.
The partnership between the Club and school district is a model for how community organizations can work together to improve the lives of young people.
“We can’t do what we do without the partnership of the Nampa School District because you need to collaborate for kids to be successful,” said Executive Director Melissa Gentry. “Kids need to be supported outside of school with mentors and positive people in their lives. We are so grateful to have district teachers who provide additional tutoring for kids outside the classroom, and for our partnership that allows students to be transported to our facilities.”
In Their Own Words
A mother at Willow Creek Elementary shared her experience with her 5-year-old son, who had severe separation anxiety when she first enrolled him in the program.
“I was so worried that he would have a difficult time being away from me for such long days. But Ms. Stefanie and the entire staff at the Boys and Girls Club did an incredible job making my son feel like he was in a loving and safe environment.
“When I pick him up, he is always laughing with the other children at the playground (with staff supervision) or he is working on crafts and smiling inside with the other kids and staff members. Every day I ask him what his favorite part of his day was and he says, ‘Boys and Girls Club!’
“I am beyond grateful for the Boys and Girls Club staff members for helping my son build his confidence and teaching him so many incredible qualities.”
How to Volunteer
Volunteers are always welcome at the Club. To explore individual and group opportunities ranging from serving supper to helping with a craft project, call the Club at 208-461-7203. Learn more, including how to sponsor a child, at http://bgcnampa.org.
THE MENTORING NETWORK
The Mentoring Network provides school-based mentoring with a mission to improve life outcomes for vulnerable children by building one-on-one lifelong relationships.
What does your partnership with NSD look like?
The Mentoring Network works with school counselors to match volunteer one-on-one mentors (18 years and older) with youth who need an additional adult in their life. The program was started in 1999 by four passionate women who worked in Nampa, Caldwell, Homedale, and Parma school districts overseeing school counselors. As the dropout age got younger and younger, they wanted a way to keep kids in school. They formed the West Canyon Mentoring Project, which six years later was incorporated into the nonprofit The Mentoring Network Inc. to make the service available for more kids each year.
Why do you partner with NSD?
Because the Nampa School District understands what a game-changer it is for a child to have a mentor. That one (or more) caring adult who can show up, listen, and care makes a difference in the learning arena – children’s grades, attendance and behaviors improve as they become more present, ready, and willing to learn. The kids who stay with a mentor have a high school graduation rate of 99%, and 99% of them stay out of the juvenile justice system. The district and schools have been great supporters for the service The Mentoring Network provides at no charge. One hour a week truly transforms lives (for kids and adults).
In Their Own Words
In 2013 we received this email from a Nampa elementary counselor. “I have a second-grade child here who is a little lost soul. She is very sad and needy and will be a child who is lost. Can I have a mentor for her? I think her mom will grant permission. I also think your mentor will love her dearly. She absolutely BLOOMS with the tiniest shred of affection. Lately she’s been stealing, big stuff. Very boldly. I’m terribly worried about her.”
We matched her with a young college student who has loved her dearly (and still does) for the past 10 years.
“When we visited this mentee in May 2023, she was preparing to graduate from a Nampa high school and start college in August to become an RN. She wants to help people. She is still with the same mentor and they plan to continue meeting as she goes through college. She sent this note to her mentor, “I appreciate you for everything you have done for me. You inspire me to be a better person. I can’t thank you enough.”
She now has a month of college behind her and she is finding her voice and seeking guidance to maneuver through this new adventure as a first-generation college student with a “team” of people to encourage and support her.
How to Volunteer
Visit www.MentoringNetworkID.org or call 208-880-1690 for information on how to become a mentor. If mentoring isn't your passion but you believe in the power of mentoring, you can become a monthly or annual donor, sponsor, or share other talents/gifts that you might have.