Nebo dis­trict tak­ing care of stu­dents in need

Serve Daily - - FRONT PAGE - By Je Dabbs

There are cur­rently 1,400 home­less chil­dren within Nebo School Dis­trict. For­tu­nately, Nebo employees like Monica Hullinger are there to help.

Hullinger is a so­cial worker in the dis­trict’s Stu­dent Ser­vices depart­ment where she helps pro­vide chil­dren in need with cloth­ing and food. But she does much more than that: she also helps pro­vide as­sis­tance to chil­dren who are strug­gling with so­cial prob­lems or even fam­ily emer­gen­cies.

Many chil­dren have both par­ents work­ing, some­times at three jobs. Hullinger said they have to “rob Peter to pay Paul.” They sim­ply aren’t earn­ing enough money to make ends meet. With the re­cent hard eco­nomic times, some fam­i­lies haven’t re­cov­ered yet. There are also many mi­grant fam­i­lies in the area with chil­dren. Some of the fam­i­lies will live in camp­grounds dur­ing the sum­mer months to save money. Then when win­ter hits, they move in­doors. Some­times mul­ti­ple fam­i­lies will live in one res­i­dence. The chil­dren of th­ese fam­i­lies have many is­sues that need to be ad­dressed.

Some stu­dents re­lo­cate from a warm cli­mates dur­ing win­ter and don’t have any cold-weather cloth­ing. Many of the stu­dents have ba­sic cloth­ing needs such as coats and socks.

The com­mu­nity as­sists in meet­ing th­ese needs. For ex­am­ple, The Springville High School FFA raised a pig which it later do­nated to a food bank to aid needy fam­i­lies. Land­mark High School stu­dents help stock and main­tain the Nebo School Dis­trict food bank. Many needed cloth­ing items like prom dresses and suits are do­nated for stu­dents who oth­er­wise would not be able to af­ford dress clothes. Ba­sics like toi­let pa­per, soap and sham­poo are do­nated by the com­mu­nity. Food do­na­tions come from The Church of Je­sus Christ of Lat­ter-day Saints, the Ki­wa­nis Sub-for-Santa pro­gram and the com­mu­nity. Back­packs with food are given out daily to the stu­dents who need food at home.

Some­times the need is a bit dif­fer­ent. Hullinger said a male high school stu­dent in the dis­trict had his mother pass away two years ago. Then his fa­ther passed away re­cently. The stu­dent had no idea how to ar­range a fu­neral for his dad. Hullinger net­worked with her com­mu­nity con­tacts and was able to se­cure the burial plot next to the boy’s mother. ar­range for a cof­fin and help the stu­dent lay his fa­ther to rest for only $200 dol­lars. This was a com­mu­nity ef­fort made pos­si­ble by many.

In ad­di­tion to phys­i­cal needs, stu­dents some­times need a way to learn cop­ing skills and how to bounce back and over­come prob­lems. Hullinger said she would like to bot­tle re­siliency and hand it out to each stu­dent. “Bad things hap­pen, stu­dents have sad times and can feel left out of so­ci­ety. We need to teach them to han­dle fail­ure. Chil­dren need to feel bumps in the road so they can pick them­selves up. Stu­dents need to learn to over­come and han­dle life’s prob­lems. Fail­ures help make them stronger youth,” she said.

Hullinger said one stu­dent was so driven to suc­ceed that she was up­set by get­ting 97 per­cent on a test. She al­ways got 100 per­cent on ev­ery test. Though 97 per­cent was still an A, she felt like a fail­ure. Some stu­dents can be so driven to suc­ceed, that any fail­ure, even a mild one, can cause ma­jor stress in their lives. Stu­dents some­times act out in­ap­pro­pri­ately. Stress at school can lead to sui­cide, es­pe­cially dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son. Some stu­dents wish to graduate early and al­ready work full time. Some chil­dren have so­cial is­sues that need to be ad­dressed.

Nebo School Dis­trict uses many dif­fer­ent tac­tics to teach chil­dren re­siliency. Role play­ing is used to ad­dress many so­cial is­sues such as bul­ly­ing, and bet­ter ways to com­mu­ni­cate.

For in­for­ma­tion on how to help th­ese stu­dents in need, con­tact Monica Hullinger at

Nebo School Dis­trict So­cial Worker Monica Hullinger helps the dis­trict’s hun­dreds of chil­dren in need, pro­vid­ing them with food and other re­sources.

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