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Shenandoah Co. schools employees launch project to help students, families

Published: Nov. 16, 2020 at 11:33 PM EST
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SHENANDOAH COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - Four Shenandoah County Public School employees have launched a project to help students and families financially, academically, and emotionally.

That new initiative is called CAPE, Citizen Advocates Promoting Education, and was started by Alicia Aston, Michael McClurg, Alexandra Johnson, and Anna Neff.

Now SCPS staff, community members, and volunteers are looking to build bridges and not create barriers for students.

As the CAPE team addresses the needs of Shenandoah County students and families, they hope it will result in positive learning experiences for students.

Before launching at all SCPS, CAPE will begin helping students and families at W.W. Robinson Elementary, but their goal is to help students division-wide in the next few years.

“This group really believes that through our work and our service and meeting those needs of families and children, that ultimately, we’re going to have a greater outcome when it comes to learning and growing for children,” Alexandra Johnson said.

A CAPE Facebook page will host a Google Form where families can anonymously submit their needs to the CAPE team.

Johnson said, for example, if a family needs a new bed for a child but is unable to afford it, CAPE may post the need to the Facebook page, while the requester remains anonymous, and a local individual or organization may have a bed available to donate.

“There’s so much need out there right now, whether it be a physical need of some kind, like a bed or struggling to pay a bill,” Alicia Aston said. “Our goal is to educate them on what services are available, where they can go to get stuff so that they’re not feeling so lost.”

For more extensive needs, the CAPE team will help connect families to local resources, like nonprofits or agencies that can assist.

CAPE founders are already excited about the project, which was presented to the Shenandoah County School Board on Nov. 12.

“We’re ready to soar as superheroes," Michael McClurg said. "We’re going to take flight and soar to help our kids and our families.”

Right now, the team is working on a shoe, sock, blanket drive to help children ages 4 through 11.

The CAPE team is planning fundraisers, like CANTASTIC! in May 2021, but is also looking for community sponsors and donations.

Anyone interested in donating or getting involved can contact Michael McClurg at (540) 246-4764. For more information on CAPE, click here.

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