DeSoto PTA President Michelle Pope is very excited about the opening of a resource center created for the DeSoto School District. Housed in the former East Middle School located at 601 E Beltline Road in DeSoto, the center offers free resources to families of the district from shoes to toiletries to household goods and even Life Skills classes.
Manned completely by volunteers, the new center is run by Melissa Toney in partnership with Desoto ISD. Toney is the founder of S.W.A.P. (Serving With A Purpose) nonprofit which has partnered with a number of local entities to bring school supplies, clothing, food and financial literacy services to the students and families of Desoto ISD. Everything in the resource center has been donated.
“The center actually had a ribbon cutting over a year ago when Dr. Weaver was still here,” Ms. Pope says, “and it started with just two classrooms. But now it’s a whole hallway of help from clothing for babies through adults, school supplies, even furniture for DeSoto residents who may have had a home destroyed by a house fire or other disaster.”
The Open House tonight is from 6:15 to 8:00 pm and tours will be given. Donations will also be accepted at this time.
From One Classroom to Many
Ms. Pope said Ms. Tomey opened the room originally as a mini grocery store to make sure students had food to eat at school and when they went home. New shoes for kids who had none came next.
Ms. Pope says she plans to help soon by teaching Financial Literacy courses.
“The Vision has gone from two classrooms to the whole front of the school, with multiple classrooms sponsored by different nonprofits.”
- DeSoto PTA – a classroom with resources for teachers, stocked with pencils, pens, paper – everything a teacher might need
- Rotary Club – suitcases and luggage for children who are in Foster Care, so they don’t need to move their belongings in trash bags
- Lonnie B Creative Designs – Owner Lonnie B will teach high school students to do graphic design work in a 6-week program which will include topics such as Dress for Success and interview etiquette
- Lions Heart – counseling for kids who are not getting it, or as a supplement to the school district’s counseling; the Pastor of Restorations Church will be involved in this.
A daycare center for young children may be added in the near future. This service would enable parents to attend financial literacy and other classes offered.
Ms. Pope says, “I work in Multiple Districts and have a really strong feeling you’ll see mirrors of this Resource Center in them soon – maybe Lancaster or Cedar Hill.” Dallas ISD has already showed an interest in creating its own resource center for their students and their families.
Donations and Volunteers
For now, everything in it is donated, including the manpower to run the center, but Ms. Pope thinks as it expands more personnel may need to be hired. She thinks grant money could fund the salaries.
Pope says the PTA has scheduled specific first and fourth Saturdays of the school months for teachers to come and get what they need for their classrooms. She hopes the new superintendent will announce regular Open Hours for the center so people will know when they can come for help.
The center will be open tonight from 6:15 to 8 and donations are welcome.
DeSoto ISD families may access needed supplies in the S.W.A.P. Parent Resource Center by contacting their campus counselor. They will complete a needs assessment form and set up an appointment to visit. Emergency needs in the community can be requested through the DeSoto CARE team.
Persons interested in donating to the Parent Resource Center may visit https://servingwithapurpose.org/donations for more information.
For more information about the PTA or the resource center contact: firstname.lastname@example.org