More For The Students!

Monzerrath Miramontes Castellanos, Staff Writer

More for Students is an essential program that aims to help students that are often forgotten but who need the most help. The program provides financial aid and resources for Wilson High School students, since approximately 50% of these students live in poverty and, in many cases, in unstable households. 

The program was founded approximately three years ago by teacher, Ted Hollister, his wife, two parents of students at Wilson High School, a former student, and Counselor Stephanie Bilvado.

Currently the head of Nutrition Services at Wilson, Christine Powell and Counselor, Lucas Clardy are managing the distribution of food, clothing, products and services. 

The idea for this program came after a conversation Hollister had with one of his students. It was then that Hollister realized the great need some students have and the little support they receive. Hollister was moved and decided to create the program with the help of approximately 100 members of Wilson High School staff who began donating money monthly to the organization.  

However, the program has several obstacles that complicate helping students. As adolescents, it can sometimes be difficult for students to express the difficulties they are going through and feel ashamed of the situations they are experiencing. 

Hollister explained that these circumstances worry him since “students isolate themselves due to their problems and getting the needed help to them can be a difficult process. Feeling shame or uneasy to reveal their economic status only causes the program to have less impact on students, because students do not want to be identified as “needy.” 

“Help is for everyone who needs it and everything we do is anonymous if the student so wishes, so do not be afraid of support.”

If any student needs help and wants more information about this program, send an email to [email protected], [email protected], or [email protected].

No other institution in the state is known to have this same program and it is believed to be unique at the moment. The program receives support from teachers, administrators, and counselors, raising funds of approximately $ 1,600 per month. It is noteworthy to emphasize that this organization was created as a non-profit effort. 

The funds raised are used to help students in various ways such as: food items, prom tickets, graduation items such as caps and gowns, etc. 

“We are not solving their poverty problem, it is just a support so students can feel they are part of the school,” Hollister said.  

The program strives to create an environment of equity among all students. All of them will be able to find support without fear of being judged because “More for the students” only looks for a way that all students feel part of the school. 

Last year, approximately the organization raised about $20,000. Of this amount, $16,000 came from the faculty at Wilson and the remainder came from anonymous donations from the community.  These funds have helped approximately 2,000 students so far.