Target 4 – Engaged Community Partners. FWSU staff and students will collaborate, innovate, create and conceptualize ideas and learning with local, regional, state, and global partners to make a difference in their community, state, and world.

Action Step – Plan and manage instruction around problems relevant to students and their community and develop solutions for authentic audiences.

Indicator of Success  Students challenge convention and make contributions in their community, state, and world.

GEMS 7th and 8th grade students recently looked beyond their warm homes and the upcoming holidays to raise awareness for homeless Vermonters. Middle School students and parents were invited to GEMS Coolest Lunch. The event on December 12th was “For Good Food, Good Friends, Good Fun, and a Good Cause!”

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Every December the Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS) holds an event called the Coolest Lunch. Lunch is served outdoors on Burlington’s Church Street Marketplace at several different restaurants. Participants make donations to COTS and eat outside in the cold weather to raise money and awareness for homeless Vermonters.


This year, GEMS hosted a satellite event to help the cause and encourage the 7th and 8th grade students to think about those who struggle with homelessness, braving the elements and hunger on a daily basis.

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GEMS student had their choice of Chili or Goulash with cornbread served by the Abbey staff and student volunteers. The inaugural Coolest Lunch event with participation from staff, students, and parents were able to make a donation to COTS exceeding $550.

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Thanks goes out to all that braved the weather, Mr. Hadd and Mr. Hardy for organizing the event, the Abbey for extending their facilities, and Laura Dattilio for making us aware of the program.

COTS seeks innovative solutions to end homelessness, and events like this helps to share their mission with the greater community. Partners within the GEMS community made a significant contribution to that cause.

 “For Good Food, Good Friends, Good Fun, and a Good Cause!”

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