After 21 years as a teacher in the Norman Public Schools district, Gentry said teaching elementary has proven to be her favorite.
“You don’t have to grow up if you teach elementary school children,” she said. “This project shows them that you don’t have to wait to grow up to figure out a way to give back.”
For some organizations, Shelter Director Sean Popp said it is the mighty efforts of local community members that keep them going. As a true nonprofit organization, the Second Chance facility thrives solely off monetary and material donations to operate.
“It’s 100 percent just people donating to us,” he said. “It’s amazing and awesome, stressful and crazy, but so far, it’s been a great adventure.”
While some donations are made with specific causes in mind, general donations from the public flow into the facility’s operational fund, which takes care of anything from cleaning supplies to electric bills, Popp said.
“We are a Norman-grown, Norman-based organization and we’re here to help Norman as much as possible,” he said. “However, we also help with animal welfare in all of central Oklahoma.”
With a lot of ground to cover, Popp said surrounding areas like Tuttle, Oklahoma City, Mustang, Yukon and Moore are other areas that they’ve helped out — to name a few.
Gentry said last year’s project plans were to donate to Second Chance, by student request, but the focus quickly shifted once the EF-5 tornado hit Moore on May 20, 2013.
“The kids decided they wanted to try again this year,” Gentry said. “It’s a second chance at Second Chance for us.”
As part of the project, the kids researched local and global charities to form their own opinions about where their funds should go. After a lengthy discussion and debate, the majority vote decided to give to Second Chance. Gentry said it’s exciting to see the children voting and make decisions democratically.