Reagan JROTC Cadets sponsor McKinney Families
Since 2001 the Reagan JROTC program has participated in a program sponsoring McKinney Families during the holidays. McKinney Families are in a homeless situation, for example, living with a relative while their children attend an NEISD school.
When the Reagan JROTC program first participated in this project we sponsored one or two families, and much like other programs of this kind, there was not a connection between our cadets and the families sponsored. However, starting with the 2005-2006 school year, we found a way to gain a connection with the families we support, and in the process, our cadets practice skills as well as values associated with team work, leadership, self-lessness and community support.
Our support begins with each cadet company receiving information about the family the company will be responsible to help. Each company is provided the age, gender, clothing sizes, and type of gifts each child desires. Working from a list of suggested food items, knowing the clothing needs and sizes of children in the family, as well as gifts desired, the company leadership must determine a way to fairly distribute donations while motivating every cadet to participate. Each cadet understands their role in helping make the holiday season of their family the best possible.
This year, as it has been for most years, each cadet was asked to donate at least one food item. Other than a sense of pride gained by supporting their company and their family no reward is given to any cadet for participation.
Each company approached the challenge by asking cadets for a monetary donation. Because we know that some are able to give more than others, like with food donations, other than the identifying who gave to account for monetary donations, cadet leadership does not record how much each cadet donated by name. From the donations received, prior to shopping day, each company creates a budget for each child to purchase the items that will be a part of the total package delivered.
With lists in hand and a budget, a few cadets in each company assemble to go shopping 2 days before deliveries are scheduled. A lot of thought goes into selection decisions. And, all cadets are able to see how the monetary donations were used before deliveries are made. A few days before Winter Break we are given addresses and a time for delivery. Company leaders coordinate their delivery and, accompanied by adult chaperon's, 2-3 cadets make the delivery of their company’s food and gift items to their family.
Cadets practice leadership skills in the process of coordinating their support. And, while it might not be a need for food or a need for clothing we all need help at some time in our lives. During their deliveries cadets are able to see how much our McKinney families needed our help and how much our help contributes to making the holiday season better for each of our families.
Posted on December 20, 2013