Hundreds of community members showed their support for public education during the Foundation for Edmonds School District’s annual fundraising breakfast Friday in Lynnwood.
Those who gathered inside the Community Life Center for the 7 a.m. event included a bevvy of business, organization and community leaders along with many elected officials.
The morning began with a welcome from Edmonds School District Superintendent Rebecca Miner, followed by a recap — presented by Executive Director Deborah Brandi — of the foundation’s accomplishments during the past year.
Noting the impact that both the COVID pandemic and inflation have had on many school district families in recent years, Brandi said the foundation strives to partner with the commnity “to ensure that our children have the resources they need to learn, thrive and to be an active and inclusive part in our vibrant community.”
Brandi pointed to the foundation’s core programs, including academic enrichment, its Reading for All program, the Nourishing Network and career and college readiness.
For nearly 40 years, she said, the foundation has funded academic enrichment programs though classroom and schoolwide grants. These tools support students and educators both in and out of the classroom, she added. One program Brandi highlighted was the Art for All! Project created by Heidi Brislin, a district occupational therapist and assistive technology specialist.
“The Art for All program brings adaptive art technology to special needs students so they can authentically participate in and create art,” Brandi explained.
Reading and literacy are key components to academic success, and the foundation also sponsors a range of programs to support reading.
And because students can’t learn if they are hungry, the foundation’s Nourishing Network brings food to children and families in need, through weekend meal kits and pop-up pantries.
The foundation also partners with a variety of organization to award college scholarships annually, and presented more than $162,000 in scholarships last June.
The foundation was “astonished” to learn than not one student from Scriber Lake High School had applied for a scholarship last year, Brandi said. So it created an on-the-job training program at both Scriber Lake and Lynnwood high schools, with the idea of encouraging students to stay in school and graduate on time.
One of those students was Scriber High junior Madelenn Markfield, who recently completed the program and had a paid internship with Gesa Credit Union. Markfield was interviewed about her experience by Vanessa Edwards, the district’s career and technical education business partnerships and career connected learning coordinator.
Markfield said that at first, she was nervous to sign up for the program. “I didn’t think I had the skills, I didn’t think I had the essence to have a job in a professional setting,” she said. Yet after being interviewed and accepted into the program, “I realized that I can have some potential and some skills to do an actual job,” she added.
During her internship, Markfield worked on Gesa’s member experience team, compiling data on customers’ experiences. At the end of the internship, she presented her findings to Gesa’s leadership team “and they are still using some of the work I did,” Markfield said proudly.
“It was a really amazing opportunity,” said Markfield, who plans to do another intership with Gesa during her senior year. “I met a lot of supportive adults and I’m still in contact with a lot of them. I gained a lot of confidence.”
— Story and photos by Teresa Wippel
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