iPads donated to after-school program
Posted: Friday, October 12, 2012 12:39 pm
The Stuart Center is a free after-school program provided by Martin Housing Authority for children in grades K-5. The program is funded by grants and provides a safe environment for kids to come after school, get help with their homework, have a free snack and participate in fun and educational activities or recreation.
The program draws a good number of volunteers from the community, as well as the University of Tennessee at Martin campus. Since Martin is a close-knit community, it may come as no surprise that local people are willing to volunteer their time, money or services to the program, a spokesman said.
But help has now come from far beyond Martin in the form of a generous donation from Bill Shank of Indianapolis.
Shank, whom most would consider a stranger to this area, has donated enough money for the Stuart Center to purchase iPads for children he has not even met.
Robert Nunley, program director at the Stuart Center, once worked for Shank at an after-school program in Indianapolis many years ago. Their friendship has grown throughout the years and Shank has always remained interested in the development work Nunley does at the Stuart Center.
Shank has served as a mentor to a handful of youth in his own city and has even employed some of them in his own company.
These experiences and connection with Nunley have led Shank to make a very generous contribution to the Stuart Center — enough money to provide the after-school program with eight brand new iPads.
Shank has only visited Martin a couple times but has never even had the chance to visit the Stuart Center.
His most recent act of kindness is not his first contribution either; he also contributed seed money to start the children’s choir at the Stuart Center.
Center officials said the children were overjoyed to see their new iPads arrive. Not only will the children be able to enjoy games and educational interactive activities on the iPads, but the staff also plans to form a movie club in which the children will brainstorm, script, film and edit their own films on iMovie.
When asked what type of movie he would like to produce first, an excited Parker Wright, a first-grader, responded, “I want to make my own movie about Superman!”
Penny McDonald, program assistant at the Stuart Center, said she plans on having each child write a thank-you letter to Shank. She wants the children to express why they want to thank him for the iPads nd how having the iPads at the after-school program will impact them.
Mrs. McDonald’s daughter, London, said she would like to tell Shank, “Thank you so much for giving us these iPads — you are so nice! I hope you will write us a letter back and we can be friends!” Published in The WCP 10.11.12