Students are planning an "udder space" time this spring, as members of the Grove High School Student Body Council prepare for the 2019 COW Week.
This year's theme - Udder Space - will include numerous events with a space theme.
Activities already planned include a donkey basketball tournament set for Thursday evening at the Grove Upper Elementary Gym, a corn hole tournament, multiple restaurant/business days in Grove and a four-day extravaganza during the actual week - set for Monday to Thursday, March 11 to 14.
More about Cow Week
Developed in 2017, COW Week or Changing Our World Week, is a student driven initiative designed to unite school and community resources to benefit a charity making an impact within the local community.
In 2017, members of the COW Week team chose the Grove Backpack Program, an effort which helps provide meals for students in need.
Student fundraising efforts, which included a variety of events, including a talent show, surpassed the initial goal, and raised more than $13,409 for the program.
In 2018, COW week efforts raised funds for Petra's Closet, an organization which helps provide clothing and other needed items for students within the Grove School District. The 2018 efforts raised $22,353.
Donetta Kerr, Student Council advisor, said the first two COW Weeks have caused a ripple effect within the high school student body.
"All of the kids are excited," Kerr said. "Everyone is talking about COW Week. It's caused an incredible change and excitement.
"When you think of high school students, you think of students saying 'what can someone do for me,' but now we have students saying 'what can we do for someone else.'"
This year's efforts
Braden Wadley, chairman of COW Week, said this year, students not only want to surpass last year's fundraising, but also find ways to increase the involvement of students and community members alike.
This year students picked DCCSAN (Delaware County Children's Special Advocacy Network) as the local charity to help.
"We always like to stay local, and we always like to help kids," Wadley said. "This one stuck out for everyone because it could make the biggest difference in our community and school."
While Wadley and his co-chairman, Cole Buckholtz, and "little cow" Abby Kreutz, are hesitant to put a number on this year's fundraising efforts, the trio would like to see students raise more than $25,000.
"It's not about the money," Wadley said. "We want to bring awareness to a local nonprofit, as well as bringing the community and school together for a good reason."
Wadley said Kerr always tells the students "Do the right thing, for the right reason and everything will fall into place" as they plan for the events.
"They stood out this year," Wadley said. "In the previous years we've focused on clothing and food. Often mental health issues are overlooked.
"To be successful you can't just have your physical needs met, but you also need you mental needs met to become a well-rounded person."
Jill McAbee, DCCSAN director, said funds raised through COW Week events will target three areas for the organization: a therapy dog, Brave Packs for students, and a day-camp for survivors.
The Brave Packs are given to students when they come to the center for the first time. They contain things such as a journal.
"If we only get one shot with a student, then the student is sent home with things to help them start the path to healing," McAbee said.
The therapy dog idea was suggested by students.
"Lots of people talk about service dogs, but we hadn't considered it to be in our price range," McAbee said.
The day camp is designed to bring together children who have utilized DCCSAN's services in an environment where they can learn additional skills toward healing from all forms of abuse.
"This is all stuff are things we would not be able to get on our own," McAbee said. "Without them picking us as their charity, this wouldn't happened.
"I've looked at purchasing a service dog, but didn't even put it on a wish list because it was out of our range. The survivor's camp is something we've wanted to do, but we didn't have the revenue options.
Mark Morris, former board chairman for DCCSAN, said he was pleased to see the students pick DCCSAN as this year's COW Week beneficiary.
"This group of young people go out and make a huge difference in the community," Morris said. "They have a passion that burns bright into the community, to make a lot of changes."
More About DCCSAN
DCCSAN - Delaware County Children's Special Advocacy Network - was established in February 1993 and later incorporated in 1997.
Located at 337 Main Street, Jay, DCCAN staff provide law enforcement within the county a centralized location for forensic interviews.
The current staff includes Jesse Stapleton, counselor, and Tisha Boggs, family advocate/forensic interviewer. Together with McAbee, staff members work to help children who come through the center receive medical evaluations and counseling as needed.
The staff also works in the community providing parenting classes as well as educational tools - including the Stewards of Children program - to educate people about childhood abuse.
In 2017, the staff conducted 141 child forensic interviews, which McAbee said, are conducted in a legally defensible, child-friendly, non-leading manner.
All interviews are recorded using the I Record System. During the session, the forensic interviewer sits in a room with the child, while members of law enforcement and child welfare watch from another location in the building. Those watching are able to communicate with the interviewer, so the child only has to speak with one person about the incident.
McAbee said individuals conducting the forensic interviews undergo more than 40 hours of training, in order to meet requirements set by the National Children's Alliance. DCCSAN is a nationally-accredited child advocacy center.
The staff also work with the MDT or Multi Disciplinary Taskforce, which includes representatives from local law enforcement, the district attorney's office and Department of Human Services, as well as medical and mental health professionals,
McAbee said DCCSAN's mission is designed to serve a multifaceted community problem - with the ultimate goal, to ensure that children are not further victimized by the intervention systems designed to protect them.
For more information, persons interested may visit www.facebook.com/COWWeek or Information can also be found on Twitter and Instagram at @GHSCowWeek.
For more information about DCCSAN, persons interested may contact McAbee or members of her staff at 918-253-4539 or visit www.dccsan.org.