Community Spotlight: Harrisonburg Education Foundation

Published: May. 1, 2023 at 10:01 AM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Funding opportunities, fulfilling dreams, and celebrating excellence are the three pillars the Harrisonburg Education Foundation stands on, tying together Harrisonburg City Public Schools and the community that surrounds them.

“From our youngest learners at 3 and 4 all the way through high school awesome things are happening in classrooms due to the community support that we gather,” HEF executive director Cody Oliver said.

Support is at the core of the Harrisonburg Education Foundation, and Oliver says it comes from everywhere. Either through individuals with direct ties to HCPS or those who just want to see the division thrive.

“I think COVID taught us about educators and the hard work that they do. If community members want to share their support for schools whether that’s volunteering or in-kind donations, to really make sure that things can happen and things are more expensive so school supplies all the way to scholarships in college,” Oliver said.

The foundation’s biggest initiatives focus on giving students and faculty across the division the tools they need to succeed. Programs like the Backpack coalition which provides food to children in need on the weekend, scholarships for graduating Harrisonburg High School seniors or Innovative educator grants, which allow teachers to bring new ideas to life.

“They just get this spark, this excitement, and you know that in their classroom they’re bringing that same spark and excitement to do something new, to try something new to learn with their students,” Oliver said.

During the month of May, HCPS educators are also celebrated by the foundation during ‘Teacher Appreciation Week’, from May 8-12. This year HEF will carry on a fun tradition for a second year to thank educators.

“We will have our second annual ‘Thanks a Lotto’, those are scratch-off cards that lead to fabulous prizes donated by the community that each one of our HCPS staff members will be receiving. WE really just encourage that community celebration of all the hard work that educators do,” Oliver said.

Oliver says if you are interested in helping out the Harrisonburg Education Foundation, one way you can do that is by making a donation and adding $23. The additional money will go toward helping pay for caps and gowns for graduating HHS seniors.

You can find more on the foundation by visiting their website here.