One WV School's Art Program a Welcome Oasis

One WV School's Art Program a Welcome Oasis
To most of us, an art curriculum may seem mundane, but to one WV elementary school it is a respite from some unthinkable conditions.

I was first made aware of the plight of Cottageville Elementary School when PBS News Hour aired a segment on 'Making the Grade'.

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/west-virginia-school-caring-students-addicted-parents-cant

This area is one of the poorest in the state, due in part to the closing of coal mines and an aluminum factory - resulting in unemployment and an opioid epidemic.

Cottageville's story shares a common thread with other US towns: pharma companies over-prescribing painkillers. Their children are the unfortunate victims - nearly ½ are in foster homes.

While some politicians tout a policy on how taxpayers should house, feed, and educate the migrant children crossing the Mexican border, I say, "Let's first care for 'America's forgotten children'."

Each classroom in grades pre-K (children 3 or 4 years old) - 5th grade is provided with an Apple TV that can be used for educational/entertainment purposes.

One day a week an art class is offered for 45 minutes by a teacher with an art degree.

A 45 minute music class is provided once a week, taught by a certified music teacher. Band would begin in 5th grade, but musical instruments are beyond the reach of this school - donations are accepted.

This art curriculum may seem like a welcome oasis by allowing the students to socialize, express their talents, and deal with their emotions.

I was assured the staff at Cottageville Elementary School to be very nurturing.
They work hard to give these underprivileged children a good education.

Breakfast and lunch are provided daily from a federal program. It's uncertain as to the diet of these children at dinner or on weekends because of some living with opioid addicted parents. WV is one of US states dealing with a high obesity rate due to poor nutrition.

A child needs to feel safe in order to learn. They need the essentials: food and shelter, but these children may come from a home laden with violence, sexual abuse, and a lack of human connection.

No different than the dreams of their privileged counterparts, these are bright children who are eager to learn - they need to be provided with the tools to achieve and succeed.

A guidance counselor is onboard when school resumes mid-August. This fall, if state funding is made available, CES will be given a much-needed social worker and school psychiatrist.

Cottageville Elementary has implemented a community involved mentor program for three years now -the number of students served has increased.

I decided to become involved with raising awareness and request donations for the children of CES after viewing the PBS program - it made a lasting impression.

For back to school (mid-August), the children need backpacks as they are 'personal items' and not provided by the school. Clothing (new and gently worn) for all seasons is accepted, as well as donations that may be used at the school's discretion (for shoes or even a haircut if the child is attending a funeral).

Donations can be sent to Cottageville Elementary School, PO Box 270, Cottageville, WV 25239.




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Content copyright © 2018 by Camille Gizzarelli. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Camille Gizzarelli. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Camille Gizzarelli for details.