The Humanity Project is tackling the largest, most ambitious campaign in our 12-year history. And we've already begun ... Through at least the full 2017-18 school year, and perhaps longer, our nonprofit will work intensively at Westwood Heights Elementary School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In the very recent past, Westwood Heights was an F-grade school, rising now to a C-grade school through the efforts of their amazing principal, Jodi Washington, and her fine staff. But Mrs. Washington tells us much remains to be done in the school and in the neighborhood.
Bullying is a major problem, affecting many students including LGBTQ children and others who may stand out as potential targets of hostility. Most of the school's kids struggle with inadequate food when not in school for free meals. Even school supplies such as backpacks are scarce. And the surrounding neighborhood is impoverished, rundown and struggling with crime and other problems. The school itself is sometimes a victim of these crimes. The Humanity Project hopes to change things.
We began by arranging a major donation of nearly 400 backpacks. More than 300 of these came from a generous contribution by our friends at Costco, others came through Trinity Lutheran Church, the New River Orchestra and members of the Humanity Project Board of Directors and Leadership Council. So far this year, every child who's needed a backpack has received one. Then we presented our acclaimed Anti-bullying Through The Arts program to the entire student population, grades K - 5. It went well. Next week, we begin our Humanity Club at Westwood Heights, teaching several handpicked all-girl student leaders about our Humanity Project core values of respect, diversity and self-worth ... then helping them create and present their own program about these values to the entire school. Every student will be asked to sign a pledge to treat all other students with respect for the full academic year, in and out of school. We'll follow up with contests, games, art projects, a planned Garden of Respect and much more.
This is where our campaign will far exceed any previous work by the Humanity Project: We plan to hold parent workshops to teach good parenting skills and involve parents in their child's education. We will also approach local community leaders, including gang members, to bring them into our efforts with the goal of making Westwood Heights a focal point of neighborhood pride. We'll need lots of help from everyone at Westwood Heights and our South Florida friends, including additional funding from sponsors. As always, our programs are free to the schools. But we're already fortunate to have partners such as Our Fund, Lucky's Market, New River Orchestra, Children's Services Council of Broward County and others helping us in this sweeping project. As the year goes along, we'll keep you updated on our progress. And of course, we'll continue providing our anti-bullying, Humanity Club and unique I Care teen driver safety programs to the community at the same time. All for free.
As we said, it's an ambitious campaign. But we are confident that with lots of committed assistance by our friends and colleagues, we can make a significant difference in both this school and in this community.