The season of “Thanksgiving just ended and the season of giving just started. But at the Missouri Military Academy we keep on giving yearlong here are some of the highlights…
The Lunch Buddies Program
Our librarian, Mrs. Fran Robley after hearing that there was a need for positive male role models to participate in the Lunch Buddy program, approached the Mexico School district about allowing cadets to volunteer as Lunch Buddies. Mrs. Robley worked with Dana Keller, Director of the Mexico Area Chamber of Commerce and also a board member of the Bright Futures Mexico Program.
The program is geared to junior and senior cadets to be mentors and in order to participate Cadets have to be school leaders who are in good academic standing and demonstrated exemplary behavior. At present, MMA has 24 cadet Lunch Buddies in all 3 of the Mexico elementary schools. They serve as mentors to at-risk first, second, third, and fourth-grade students.
Cadets visit their “buddies” two times per month to have lunch and go to recess. The cadets affectionately refer to their buddies as their “kids” and take great pride in their kids’ accomplishments. Their kids’ teachers often help them email their cadets. In this way, cadets encourage their little friends to do well with their school work, participate in sports, and celebrate their successes.
Cadets are given community service hours for participating in the program but are receiving much more in the friendship and connections they make with their “kids.” MMA faculty members help to chaperone the Lunch Buddy visits and enjoy seeing cadets as they interact with their kids.
The Buddy Pack Program
The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri serves 32 counties, and 28 of them take p
art in the Buddy Pack Program. ‘Buddy Packs’ is a community food relief project Missouri Military Academy has undertaken to assist those who may need ‘a little extra’ nutritionally speaking. A ‘Buddy Pack’ is a week’s supply of supplemental food that typically includes, milk, two cans of lasagna, two cups of fruit, two bags of dry cereal, and perhaps cookies packaged in a 6 liter bag.
MMA’s Keith Morgan recruits several cadets and staff every Monday night and gets an assembly line going in our field house and fills boxes with non-perishable food items for Mexico’s local kids to take home with them on Fridays. Each week the groups of cadets volunteer to prepare the Buddy Packs.
Currently, they are producing 550 Buddy packs. Each Buddy pack is essentially several meals and supplements a family unit. So, basically, using the food provided to them, MMA’s cadets help feed 550 families in Audrain, Boone and Ralls counties.
Since Buddy Packs is a critical part of our Community Service program we are able to make a sustained impact each year on a three-county area. We are very fortunate to have a project like Buddy Packs, an organization like the Food Bank of Central Missouri and cadets like those at MMA to help our community.
Mrs. Morris Class Shoes for Haiti
Mrs. Cheryl Morris, our MMA Art teacher, created a program to help children in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, “The Painted Shoe Project”. The students in her class design and paint shoes to give to the kids in Haiti in the fall and the Dominican Republic in the spring. Each shoe has a distinctive design and will protect youngster’s feet in a stylish way.
75th Anniversary Pearl Harbor Mass Band Performance
The National Park Service and the United States Navy co-host the 75th commemoration of the attack on Pearl Harbor. This event also supported by the City and County of Honolulu, the State of Hawaii and the Governor’s Office, members of Hawaii’s congressional delegation, and other branches of the U.S. military.
To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, a Mass Band performance featured over 1,000 student musicians paying respect, remembering, and never forgetting the tragedies of World War II by presenting the world, “A Gift of Music” via international webcast this past December 7th.
Freddie Lomas our Band Director took 27 cadets to join in the 75th-anniversary celebration. MMA performed in the Mass Band event with other high school musicians from the US, Hawaii and Japan, alongside the USS Missouri.
As we break for the holidays please remember those in need, especially those in need of affection, empathy and compassion and not material things. FELIZ NAVIDAD