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Thursday October 29th, 2020 12:35AM

Mountain Education Charter High School helps students in need by connecting them with the community

By Kimberly Sizemore Anchor/Reporter

When students have a hard time getting their high school diploma, Mountain Education Charter High School gives students the opportunity to finish school, no matter what their life situation looks like. The free, public school gives every person who wants to get their degree a chance, from working adults to single parents. The program wants to help enrich the lives of students through education, but they go a step beyond that. They also want to help them with their physical needs, as well. Which is exactly why they feed the students a dinner meal every night. Now they are asking for the public’s help in meeting some of those needs, so students have their best chance to be successful.

Kayla Sims, Wrap Around Services Liaison for the metro area, as well as a counselor and social worker for the Dawson County Program, says that the great needs of many of the students, including food and clothing, hinders them from being able to focus on their schoolwork. “Most of our students have a lot of basic needs that aren’t met at home. And that prevents them from being successful at school, if they are even able to come to school,” says Sims. “For example, I had a student last week ask me for shampoo. That is something a lot of us consider to be a basic need.”

Now, thanks to the wonderful world of technology, there is a way that the community can partner with those students in need, and it is as simple as downloading a free app. Sims explains how it works. “We  have started using the Purposity app. It’s an app you can download for free on your phone. We need 200 followers for each of our sites before we can start using the app. But once we get those followers, we can put on there ‘a student needs a new mattress,’ ‘a student needs a new pair of winter shoes,’ ‘a student needs a new winter coat.’ And if you want to meet that need, you can click 'meet need' and that’s all you have to do.”

As Sims explains, the app requires followers before needs can be posted, so they are asking people to at least download and follow to help them get started. Public schools are also using this app to help students in need. Sims says that anyone who downloads the app can follow as many schools as they would like, for example, someone could follow Hall county schools, as well as Mountain Education Charter schools. And, she wants users to know, following the school does not automatically mean you are agreeing to help meet a need. It allows the user to just browse the needs casually and without a commitment.

Users are also able to filter what they see so they can check out the needs of the local students in their own communities. Mountain Education Charter High Schools are located all throughout North Georgia. In fact, they have 19 campuses across the region. Followers can choose which high school they would like to assist – whether it be in Forsyth, Dawson, Lumpkin or Hall County, for example. All a user has to do is click “organizations near me” to discover all the school choices in their community.

The advantage in being able to give through an app is that the actual shopping and dropping off the items is done by the school itself, making it really easy for the user to give. “Whatever items a user decides to donate, it is shipped directly to the site and we get it to the student. No worries about shopping or delivering it. You can trust we are going to get it and then get that item to the students.”

As winter comes, Sims says the needs for students in our area will be even greater. “We have a lot of students who are parents themselves. A lot of our students work full time during the day and come to school at night. Paying the bills and making ends meet is tough. So, especially going into winter, a lot of our kids need clothes, winter coats, new shoes. We need food. We have to have those basic needs met before our students can be successful at school.”

Mountain Education Charter High School is as place for the non-traditional students who are just trying to get their diploma. It is a public high school, fully accredited and free of charge. They meet in the evenings and have a flexible attendance policy. Sims says it’s a place for people to find a second chance. “We are flexible on how much you work, what classes and what order. We just want you to get your diploma,” says Sims. “Most of our students don’t fit into the traditional high school environment, maybe because of the social aspect, maybe they aren’t interested in sports and clubs, or maybe they just want to get their diploma to move on to their next step in life. They can do that here, with us. We take any students. It just gives our students who don’t do so well in traditional high school a second chance.”

Sims encourages others to find ways to help those who long to get an education to better themselves. She also says it’s important to see them as valuable members of the community. “The students we serve are the ones we see every day. They are in our community. We have students that have needs everywhere. These are not newcomers to the community. They have been here awhile. These needs have been here for awhile. And if you want to do something, this is how you do it.”

It's as simple as this: download the app “Purposity” and under “organizations” scroll down or search for Mountain Education Charter Schools.

  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News
  • Associated Tags: education, Lumpkin County, hall county, Forsyth County, Dawson County, Mountain Education Charter School, purposity
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