Debra Whittaker; a helping hand With Communities in School

Debra Whittaker; a helping hand With Communities in School

By Alexis Galarza

Spread throughout Lowry there are some students who do not have the accessibility to necessities they might need.

Our school has worked hard to ensure these students do not have to go without. Debra Whittaker has beautifully created this safe haven for the students of Lowry.

Communities in School is a nationwide non-profit organization that is separate from the Humboldt County School District.

Any student is welcome to stop by and grab things such as school supplies, clothing, and snacks. Communities in schools have already made their way around the nation and now have arrived at Lowry High School.

“So community in schools has been around the nation for about forty-five years and it was developed by a gentleman who was a school teacher,” said Whittaker. “He saw that there were basic needs that were preventing children from successfully showing up to school.”

Ms. Marcel Johnson. /Winnada
Ms. Marcel Johnson. /Winnada

The children of our school could be lacking anything from a pencil to a full stomach.

“Sometimes a kid is just hungry, or maybe they had the school lunch and are still hungry before a test,” said Whittaker. “Or they didn’t have warm clothes or shoes or any of those basic needs.”

However, Whittaker is not working alone. Many teachers across the nation have been given supplies to help their students succeed.

“Teachers are already so committed and dedicated to serving the students,” said Whittaker.
There are three tiers of support Communities in Schools provides. The first tier included snacks and materialistic needs.

“There’s the first tier where I can provide the snacks, the clothes, everything you see in this room is free to take to the entire school,” said Whittaker.

The second tier can consist of connecting to the student on a more personal level.

“Then tier two is like maybe someone just needs a little more encouragement to excel further which can look like an attendance check-in, and I would do this a couple of times a month to give them an accountability partner,” said Whittaker.

Tier three is the highest of the three when someone just needs someone to talk to or a more one-on-one situation.

“Tier three could be one-on-one or a very low level of counseling,” said Whittaker. “I am not a counselor but if someone comes to me and says Mrs. Whittaker I don’t know where to find this resource. Maybe I can refer them to the tutoring program or another community resource,” said Whittaker.