In the Jefferson County School District there is a concept called; “Schools as Hubs.” The goal of this plan is to use the school as the “Hub,” or life giving heart of the neighborhood. Hub can mean the school serves as the city park for an area of town, or offers meeting space for neighborhood groups, then sometimes schools fill in as a service center meeting resident’s needs through partnerships with nonprofits and host medical professionals for health screenings. Schools as Hubs radically changes the purpose of “school” in ways that can make a local and long lasting positive impact on struggling families.
Recently several schools in Lakewood have taken the “school as Hub” plan to heart in a new way. Currently three schools have transformed part of the school facility into a food pantry and clothing and medical distribution site for the neighborhood. The Hub might be located inside the building or in a portable classroom outside… but either way the Hub brings needed support to families who have temporary or long term needs. The nearness of the facility and the fact that the folks working in the Hub are people they know and trust is removing the stigma and shame of need in our modern era!
At Foothills Elementary, the “Foothills Foodies” Hub opened up in October in a portable. To make the Hub work, volunteers from local churches organize, stock, and distribute the food. Two staff members from the school coordinate linking school families to the Hub, then dozens of nonprofits and government agencies all lend expertise, food, clothing, and medical supplies. To make the Hub work it literally takes an entire community!
Lakewood Connects is proud to support and or help navigate dozens of potential partners at each Hub site. Each Hub works differently and together with County Human Services the volunteers in the Hub are able to aim those receiving aid towards self-sufficiency and a future plan for thriving and flourishing.
Currently two additional Hubs are being developed at elementary schools in high need neighborhoods in Lakewood. This kind of local support is reducing suffering in our most underserved areas of the city and will become an example of what is possible when a community pulls together for the common good. Thanks for helping us make an immediate positive difference in the lives of 100s of families in Lakewood!