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Small Things and Great Love
Posted by DEVRA ASHBY on 6/5/2020 10:30:00 AM
By Logan Laszczyk
COVID-19 shut many doors these past three months, but it could not shut out the love and the immeasurable impact of Mrs. Anna Aguilera and Mrs. Carrie Young. Aguilera and Young spearheaded a 10-week long effort that assisted families, students, and the community around Rogers Elementary School.
Mother Theresa said, “We can do small things with great love.”
What started off as small acts of kindness turned into a greater labor of love for both Aguilera and Young. They soon realized they would have to go above and beyond what Colorado Springs School District 11’s sack lunch program could provide. They wanted to serve all who needed.
“All means all,” said Young, a 2nd-grade teacher who just finished up her 20th year at Rogers. When she spoke of serving everyone, she referenced a message she heard by District 11’s superintendent, Dr. Michael Thomas in the summer of 2019. That message emphasized a commitment for District 11 to be an inclusive community and serve all students regardless of needs and circumstance, a message that resonated with Young.
Doors opened as Aguilera and Young reached out to community resources. Masks were sown and given to families and businesses. Businesses began to donate boxes of food. A local restaurant owner and District 11 volunteer donated more than 500lbs of fruits and vegetables.
Rogers staff and members of the community anonymously donated money. That money went to purchasing basic food supplies like milk, bread, pasta, and hotdogs. A Facebook message even led to larger donations. Several large donations were received from Hanover, Colorado, including a donation that was three full carloads. Personal toiletries and even craft supplies found their way into the capable and caring hands of Aguilera and Young.
Volunteers and Rogers staff members responded too! Teachers, teacher aides, and school volunteers would divvy food into boxes for pick-up under Aguilera’s direction. Families drove into Rogers’ parking lot and were greeted by a masked volunteer with a box of food and a smile. Those families who did not have access to transportation had a box of food delivered directly to their doorstep.
Aguilera was and is the heart of Rogers ‘efforts to meet the basic needs of families. She serves as Roger’s Community Liaison. Her in-depth knowledge of community resources and her ability to speak Spanish is a huge asset. She runs an extensive food and clothing pantry that has given help and hope to dozens of families over the years.
Aguilera noted the increasing generosity and ability to meet more needs. She noted that the first few weeks about 25 boxes were prepared. “We eventually increased to 35 baskets and were doing 42 baskets over the last three weeks,” Aguilera said.
Rogers Elementary is community and family to both Aguilera and Young. They live near the school. The families and students of the school are an extension of their individual families. Although there were and are many needs in our Colorado Springs community, Aguilera and Young are optimistic. Whether it has been individual donations, churches, community agencies, or the community-at-large, people always have supported others in times of need.
“My philosophy is if we can alleviate some basic needs and lessen stressors, our families have more time to read to their child or attend a school function,” Aguilera shared.
Young added that her physical and emotional wellness is only stronger when those she serves are healthier as she held a sign toward cars driving by that said, “Honk if you have hope.”
We all hope for better days ahead. Those days will come when people like Aguilera and Young open doors of hope and help with small but great acts of love to all in their community.