Monday, April 2, 2012

Restoring and Recovering Joplin, MO

On May 22, 2011, Joplin, MO had the misfortune of experiencing a catastrophic EF5 multi-vortex tornado. Almost 1 year, 160 casualties, and $2.2 billion worth of damage later our town is still working on rebuilding and restoring.

Tomorrow, April 3rd, 2012, a very important bond issue is up for vote. It's a request for $62 million to help rebuild Joplin Schools destroyed by the tornado (Joplin High School, Irving and Emerson Elementary Schools, and East Middle School). The funds will also help build a new elementary school for Duquesne and Duenweg that will be attached to the new East Middle School.

The building and education plans for the NEW Joplin High School and Franklin Tech Center are amazing! Students will get the opportunity to choose a "pathway" of learning that will let them experience future career choice(s) and earn credits towards an associate degree!

The schools that were not necessarily directly impacted by the tornado (which in all honesty ALL the schools were impacted whether it be with increased enrollment, staff members or students that lost their homes/lives, or sharing their physical property with a school that did suffer physical damage), will benefit from the bond issue as well.

For example, my daughter's elementary school (McKinley) will receive a brand new gym, with extra classrooms added to hold art and music, freeing up other classrooms in our main building. The outdoor walkways from the main building to the gym will be covered, which is so important for our kids during inclement weather. Also, this new gym will serve as a community (storm) shelter!!

In fact, EACH school will receive its own community (storm) shelter!

If the bond does NOT pass then none of the above is possible and we lose the chance of obtaining millions in matching federal grants and funds.

The cost per household is only $5.54/month for a home assessed at $100,000. Pennies compared to the cost of a private school's tuition.

On another note, I am always so proud of my husband and the work he does for State Farm Insurance Catastrophe Services department! He has been with State Farm Insurance for 18 years, which is how we met, while he was working on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 1998 after Hurricane George.
He also was very involved in helping State Farm customers and other Joplin residents after the tornadoes.

State Farm is offering an opportunity to support Joplin schools with, and “double your impact” with a State Farm match. To help the recovery of Joplin schools, State Farm is providing $30,000 in matching grant support to, a non-profit organization that connects public school teachers with needs to donors who are willing to help. View the list of needs in Joplin schools, and between now and May, State Farm will match up to $30,000 of private donations.

It has been an amazing experience to live in such a resilient and caring community. There are so many opportunities to help Joplin recover! If you live within the Joplin city limits, I encourage you to vote tomorrow! If you do not, then I hope you check out the above link to Donors Choose.  

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