Rock Springs ES Principal Penny Clavijo celebrated a milestone birthday in October, but not with black streamers decorating her office or pink flamingos on the front lawn of the school. Staff, parents, and students wanted to recognize her contributions as a volunteer with the Lawrenceville Co-op. In secret, the school community conducted a charitable drive to gather donations for the Co-op. During morning announcements on her birthday, Ms. Clavijo was surprised with 1,332 non-perishable food items.
Co-op volunteers happily kept the secret and prepared to fill the Co-op's pantry with the donations. "What a perfect and thoughtful gift— feeding the hungry— in honor of a very special lady!," says Co-op Director Linda Freund who notes that more than 400 families in Lawrenceville and Dacula use the Co-op's services each month. "Thank you Rock Springs and Principal Clavijo for blessing our neighbors in need!"
Of the surprise, Ms. Clavijo says, “It was such an honor for our students to participate in a service project to celebrate my 50th birthday, and especially to support the Lawrenceville Co-op, an organization that helps to feed and support families here in Lawrenceville. In our learning community we focus on being kind with our words and actions, serving our community, and instilling life principles that our students can carry with them throughout adulthood to help reach their PROMISE potential.” She adds that she witnesses The Promise of Gwinnett in a partnership between the school community and a support organization like the Co-op as it encourages a “mind-set of giving back to the community.”
If you are looking for ways to support others in the community or need assistance for yourself and your family, learn more about the Lawrenceville Co-op online. Similar organizations operate in Lilburn, Norcross, the North Gwinnett area, and in Southeast Gwinnett. The co-ops are local non-profits supported by faith groups and community donations. They typically provide food and other resources to families in need in surrounding communities.