Kloeckner Metals Tulsa has partnered with local Springdale Elementary to create an ongoing charity effort to help local students. The most recent event was a “HUGS” drive for the kindergarten students at the school. The Kloeckner Tulsa branch has raised donations for hats, undergarments, gloves, and socks, which were handed out to 86 children.
Springdale Elementary is located in a low-income area close to the Kloeckner Tulsa office. Almost 95% of the students there qualify for the national free school lunch program, meaning that their families are at or below 130% of the poverty line. The school is in the bottom 10% of Oklahoma in Math and Reading test scores and also has a very large Hispanicpopulation.
“A lot of these kids either have parents at home who aren’t English speaking, or they have parents at home who didn’t finish high school or parents who work multiple jobs and aren’t at home who can’t help them,” says Kendall McDonald of Kloeckner Metals Tulsa.
To try and help give these students more academic assistance, Kloeckner has also initiated a reading buddy program with the school. On Thursdays, volunteers from Kloeckner travel to the school in order to help students with reading comprehension. The volunteers provide one-on-one tutoring to the children who are selected to participate each week.
“They will run up and give us a hug on the leg and say, ‘I remember you from last time,’” Kendall says.
The reading program is targeted at the third-graders, who will be taking a standardized test this March. That test will determine whether the students will be allowed to progress to the next grade level. In preparation for the test, the volunteers go to the library to study with children who have behaved exceptionally well during the week or just really need the extra tutoring. Volunteers work on flash cards, recite words, read with the children, and ask questions so that the children can work on their comprehension.
“I think that they enjoy being out of the classroom,” says Kendall. “A lot of these kids are not single kids at home. These are kids who have several brothers and sisters. Then they come to school and are in a classroom with 20 plus other kids. A teacher only has so much time to go through every day and try to help each one of them.”
This is part of #KloecknerGivesBack mindset to not only take care of their employees but also take care of the community around them. Kloeckner employees like Kendall have graciously volunteered their own free time to make this program work. Employees have their own families and time constraints, so they are often working through lunch so that they will have the time to go over and help at Springdale. Kendall thinks that this sacrifice has been well worth it.
“Nobody goes over to a small child, hands them something that they are in need of, and turns around and has a grumpy face,” Kendall says. “You smile because it makes you feel good.”