Lindbergh schools launch community-service effort

Patriotic concert scheduled Nov. 12 to aid Backstoppers

By MIKE ANTHONY

Lindbergh School District staff members, students and parents are being challenged to collectively contribute a minimum of 25,000 hours of community service through a districtwide volunteer initiative that kicked off last week.

The initiative, “A Heart to Serve, Hands to Help,” was launched last week at district schools on Patriot Day — Sept. 11.

For “A Heart to Serve, Hands to Help,” staff members, students and parents are being challenged to volunteer five to 10 hours to a charity or other worthy community cause as “a living tribute” to the memory of those who perished on Sept. 11, 2001, as well as local police officers, firefighters and emergency medical service, or EMS, workers who are on the job every day.

Though the goal is a minimum of 25,000 hours — or more than 1,000 days of community service — Superintendent Jim Sandfort said during a Board of Education meeting Sept. 11 that district officials are optimistic that the number of community-service hours could range from 50,000 to 70,000.

The community-service initiative will continue through Thanksgiving, but the culmination of the volunteer effort will be “A Night of Patriotic Music” to benefit Backstoppers at 7 p.m. Monday Nov. 12, at the Lindbergh School District Auditorium, 4900 S. Lindbergh Blvd.

The concert will feature the high school’s A Cappella Choir, Drumline, Spirit of St. Louis Marching Band and Strolling Strings. Donations are a minimum of $10.

The goal is to sell out the auditorium — the more than $6,000 raised then would be matched by the David C. Pratt Challenge Grant to Backstoppers, a non-profit group that assists families of police officers, firefighters and EMS workers. Concert tickets are available at any district school or by calling (314) 729-2400.

On Sept. 11, the Board of Education voted unanimously to adopt a resolution honoring “Hometown Heroes.”

The resolution states that the Board of Education “remembers those who lost their lives and those who sacrificed their lives to rescue others six years ago … In remembrance of their spirit, we take time to recognize our local police officers, firefighters, paramedics and emergency workers who daily serve our community and keep us safe from danger …”

The resolution concludes by stating the school board “thanks all of our Hometown Heroes in the Lindbergh School District community and throughout our nation.”

During the meeting, Sandfort discussed the district’s relationship with Gordmans, which is partnering with Lindbergh for “A Heart to Serve, Hands to Help.”

The superintendent recalled that Jeff Gordman had presented the school district with a $2,500 check when the Crestwood store opened in 2002.

Earlier this spring during a discussion of the upcoming school year, Sandfort said school officials asked, “… What would happen if rather than collecting money or other kinds of things which focus on that — and we do a lot of that for the community for special-needs projects — what if every student and every parent and every staff member donated five to 10 hours of volunteer time for some worthy charity or cause?

“What impact would that have? And the more we got to thinking and then we came up with ‘A Heart to Serve, Hands to Help,’ and it just sort of mushroomed …”

Sandfort said he contacted the company and Jeff Cox, district manager, responded, presenting the district with check for $3,000 on behalf of Gordmans last week.

“… Jeff, we can’t be more grateful to you and to the Gordman family for their support, and all this goes to help fund the promotions, to help do all the printing, which gets to be relatively expensive. But what it’s going to allow is it’s going to have a huge effect out there,” he said. “We figure minimally we will provide 25,000 hours of community service. We figure hopefully it will range between 50,000 and 70,000 hours of community service if everybody picks up the spirit and we’re getting wonderful reports back.

“Well, we kicked all this off on Patriot Day — today — with our students and it is going to end on Thanksgiving and we’re going to have a close-out program a little bit before that on November the 12th. That Monday evening, we’re going to host a benefit concert for Backstoppers. We felt what better way to sort of put all this together than to use the impetus from Jeff Gordman with the drive of the school district to give back to the community above and beyond with something very important. And that is recognizing those heroes close to home and do it as what we call a living tribute.

“You can recognize, you can have assemblies, you can honor folks, but I think to honor their spirit by living that spirit in memory of the firefighters, the EMS workers, the police officers who died in 9/11 or who are dealing with the health aftereffects of that and then just to take it back to the community …,” he continued.

“It’s nice and reassuring when you can dial 911 and somebody’s on the other end of the line helping you. They give back. They sacrifice. They’re there 24/7. Could we just give five to 10 hours of community service without sacrificing life or limb, but simply reaching out and helping folks … So that’s the whole thing and Gordmans stepped up …,” Sandfort said.

Cox said, “We are honored to be your partner in this project and thank you very much for thinking of us.”