Westwood School students receive new coats, motivation to give back

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More than 100 students at Westwood School have a brand-new coat to help stay warm this winter thanks to what has become a new annual tradition, a local coat drive. Students in grades two, five, and six were surprised in the school’s music room with a visit from Poul Lemasters, a community partner to Westwood School and organizer of the coat drive.

“A generous donation such as this makes a huge impact on our students,” said Principal Christopher Grant. “Not only do our students receive something that they will use every day for several months, but they know that there are people out there who care about them and are rooting for them to succeed.” 

Minutes before greeting the students in the music room on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017, Lemasters and his colleagues parked a U-Haul full of new coats in the school’s parking lot and started bringing in piles of coats, organizing them by size and style so students could “shop around” for the coat that best fit them.

Lemasters and his employees helped make the coat drive happen by asking professional contacts, clients, and organizations around the city for donations, which Lemasters Consulting would match.

“It takes a team to make this happen,” Lemasters told the students. “These things might start as one person having one idea, but it takes asking other people for help for it to be successful.”

Lemasters also told the students that with receiving something, hopefully they will be inspired to pay it forward and give back to their communities in their own way.

“I’m going to volunteer at the library across the street,” one student said when asked if she had an idea of how she could give back. “I’m going to ask my mom to fill out the application for me to volunteer this weekend.”

This is not the first time Westwood has welcomed Lemasters to the school. Westwood’s Vision 2020: My Tomorrow focus is Student Enterprise. As an entrepreneur himself, Lemasters has been engaged as a mentor and role model, inspiring students to pursue their own entrepreneurial dreams. On a previous visit, he told students that the best kind of entrepreneur to be is an entrepreneur of kindness. 

“We are fortunate to have someone like Poul in our community who cares about our students,” said Tiffani Wills, assistant principal. “The students look up to him.”

To keep up with what’s happening at Westwood School, visit https://westwoodschool.cps-k12.org/.

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