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Big hearts grow small project into huge help

Re-2 News
Theresa Hamilton
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Contributed photoCarrie Bascom, Makenna Sturgeon, Kayla Burwell and Laci Biggs pose with the Cub Tree.
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Rifle Middle School students Carrie Bascom, Kayla Burwell, Makenna Sturgeon and Laci Biggs have been given a holiday surprise, but it was not wrapped under the tree. Rather, it ended up hanging on the tree.

These four RMS Cubs planted the seed that grew to be the “Cub Tree,” a variation of the traditional angel tree that provides support for families in need during the holiday season.

“The idea began with a clothing drive, but as we began talking about it with our teachers, it grew into the Cub Tree,” said Sturgeon.



The idea began to support families of Rifle Middle School students. Rifle Middle School advisory classes (otherwise called Cub Time) could adopt a member of a family, collect money, and provide a gift for them.

“We thought that we would be adopting four or five families as a school that we would split up and support,” said Burwell.



However, as word got out around the community about the Cub Tree, referrals began coming in. What began as a small, big-hearted venture at Rifle Middle School has grown to include 70 family referrals to date – almost all of them with a connection to Rifle Middle School in some way.

“Now, we don’t have enough Cub Times for the families that we have,” added Burwell. “It’s makes us feel good that we can help so many people, but it’s a little overwhelming right now.”

School counselors Tim Fifer and Deb Cain review the referrals and then ask families if they want to participate in the program. Fifteen of the families have been enrolled in the program thus far, and Fifer would like to be able to support them this year.

“This project has been student driven, and they have been working hard to support the families currently on the Cub Tree, but we have found that there is quite a bit of need in the community right now,” explained Fifer.

That has been the biggest eye-opener for the four girls.

“People do need help for Christmas,” said Sturgeon. “Not every family will have a present under the tree.”

If you would like to support the Rifle Middle School Cub Tree, please contact Tim Fifer or Deb Cain at (970) 665-7900 or stop by the Rifle Middle School office at 753 Railroad Ave., Rifle.

The giving spirit is everywhere in Garfield Re-2 this season, as schools encourage students to volunteer in many different ways.

Food drives are currently being held in several schools including Elk Creek Elementary, Kathryn Senor Elementary, Coal Ridge High School, Highland Elementary, Rifle High School, Cactus Valley Elementary and Rifle Middle School.

Graham Mesa Elementary in Rifle has adopted seven families in their community and is ensuring that the children are completely outfitted with coats, hats, boots, gloves and mittens and provided a holiday meal. It has become the school’s new “winter tradition.”

At Elk Creek Elementary, Kathryn Senor Elementary and Coal Ridge High School, students raised money for the Angel Tree in New Castle. Wamsley Elementary, Rifle Middle School and Highland Elementary are ensuring that families in need receive holiday food baskets through the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office. At Rifle High School, they holding a Toys For Tots drive and the choir is performing at E. D. Moore, Crossroads, and the veteran’s home next week, and students are club helping with Salvation Army bell ringing.

Cactus Valley Elementary students are working with the Girls Scouts to gather pajamas for the needy. Riverside Middle School conducted a clothing swap where parents could bring in clothes and shop for other clothes as their kids outgrow their gently warn clothing.

To help any of these schools with their Holiday giving efforts, contact the school directly or the Garfield Re-2 District office at 665-7600.


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