Could you imagine a child you know..
- not having appropriate clothing for his or her first day at school?
- starting school without a pencil, crayons or a folder?
- having no one at home to help with reading or homework?
- going into the cold, winter months without a warm coat, mittens or hat?
These are everyday realities at the Whittier Elementary School in Waukegan. However, throughout the year, Temple Jeremiah congregants generously give time, donations and their hearts to help these wonderful kids.
Whittier is a K-5 school serving 600 students, located in one of the lowest income school districts in northern Illinois. Temple Jeremiah has partnered with Whittier to develop a needs-driven action plan.
Can you help? Absolutely!
Volunteer in a classroom, donate to our collection drives, collect and donate Box Tops for Education.
“Having you here is like a birthday & Thanksgiving in one!” Said to a coach by a first-grade student.
Our volunteers say:
“I love working one-on-one with each child, not only to help them succeed, but to see them glow with the extra attention and praise. They really look forward to their own special time.” -Lori
"It has been a fabulous year and helping out a Whittier is always a highlight of my week." -Suzanne
"It’s the highlight of my week. I love those kids!" -Sybil
These are just three examples of what we consistently hear from temple volunteers (we call them coaches) at Whittier. Each week 15-20 congregants volunteer at Whittier coaching children in need. Depending on the grade (K-5), we play alphabet, word, or reading games, work on reading or math skills and more, while providing much needed one-on-one time.
Wishes for Whittier Collection Drives
Helping to ensure children are properly clothed and have the necessary supplies to participate in school can have a dramatic effect because it helps children stay in school, promotes learning and positive self-esteem.
Box Tops for Education
The history of Temple Jeremiah & Waukegan schools: Hands-on Social Justice program making a real impact since 2004
When we first partnered with the Waukegan schools, one of the most impoverished districts in northern Illinois, one school lacked a sufficient library and school supplies, and others offered only limited after-school sports activities, field trips and art enrichment programs.
- Everyone at Temple Jeremiah has worked together -- from Brotherhood, Sisterhood, and the Sunday School to the congregation at large -- to make this program an amazing success. Here is what we have accomplished so far:
Under the guidance of Brotherhood, congregants rehabilitated a College and Career Center at Waukegan East High School.
- The entire congregation participated in collecting over 300 backpacks and school supplies for students for the 2006-2007 school year.
- The entire congregation donated 4000 new and gently used books for five to six year olds to build a library at the Whittier Kindergarten Center in Waukegan. United Way built beautiful shelving for the books.
- Sisterhood raised funds from the sale of its cookbook for the Waukegan Public Schools to purchase educational on-line publishing software so teachers can create their own class materials for five and six-year-olds at Whittier.
- Temple Jeremiah Religious School children brought money to school and purchased over 400 level readers for Whittier Kindergarten Center to help build its reading program.
- Empty Nesters started a one-on-one Reading Program where 23 temple members went to Whittier every month to engage in a hands-on program to read to kindergartners.
- Brotherhood completed installation of a playground at Waukegan's EPIC Pre-School in October 2006 with the help of its Scrips Program.
- A congregant in the education business donated 500 educational videos to the Waukegan elementary and high schools.
- A congregant in the furniture business secured furniture for the new Whittier School Library.
- A congregant in the audio-visual business donated two 32-inch TVs to the Waukegan schools.
- Sunday School, Brotherhood, and Social Justice committee members have run collections since 2013 to donate hundreds of winter coats, gloves, hats and scarves for children who attend the Waukegan Public Schools. Today 16 temple members go to Whittier (now a K-5 school) every week providing much needed one-on-one reading skills coaching.
- Our Summer Social Action Project, started in 2013, collects three SUVs-full of school supplies and uniforms for Whittier every year.
- One congregant and her friends lovingly knitted many bags full of scarves, mittens, hats and blankets for the past three years.
Now you know how Temple Jeremiah has become a quiet, supportive partner to a community in need. How would you like to make a difference in a young person’s life?