Kelly Anglin-Noordewier never forgot how much a school binder meant to her when she was a child. She thought some of her favorite students in Rockford deserved the same feeling.
So the security office for Rockford Public Schools set out to provide crayons for students from a federally subsidized apartment complex. Before she knew it, she had 120 colorful bags full of pencils, scissors, rulers, hand sanitizers and toothbrushes – as she put it, “All the little ditties that make a kid happy.”
“When they grow up, hopefully they will remember that,” says Anglin-Noordewier, who organized the giveaway for students at Meadow Ridge Elementary plus a few from North Rockford Middle School.
She was aided by donations from individuals, Rockford Police and its Volunteers in Police Service. Other police and firefighters helped hand out 65 tote bags at Hillview. They later distributed more to students living at other subsidized apartments.
She was prompted by her work in the schools and as a part-time Rockford police officer. A former Grand Rapids Police officer, Anglin-Noordewier said she’s seen how lack of educational opportunities and unfair labeling can lead to problems later in life. “My job is to keep a kid out of the backseat of my cruiser,” she says. “To do that, my solution is education.”
Seventh-grader Keithaleah Batchelor says she appreciates both the supplies and the supplier. “I’ve heard (students say) ‘Miss K scares me,’ but she’s nice,” Keithaleah says. “She keeps the school safe.”