A Creative Contribution – How Two Moms Are Helping Their Local School

"Team J Moms" Jenelle Walker & daughter Jessa (l), & Jasmine Borgatti & daughter Madison (r), show some of the artwork used to create tiles for the Mt. Shasta Elementary Student Art Tile Wall Project.

“Team J Moms” Jenelle Walker & daughter Jessa (l), & Jasmine Borgatti & daughter Madison (r), show some of the artwork used to create tiles for the Mt. Shasta Elementary Student Art Tile Wall Project.

The “Team J Moms” Facebook page says its purpose is “…to ensure our children receive the education they deserve.” The super duo who started the page, Jenelle Walker and Jasmine Borgatti, have raised over $5,000 for their children’s elementary school in just under a year with their grassroots fundraising efforts, including organizing the Mt. Shasta Elementary Student Art Tile Wall Project, a mural of tiles that will adorn a wall of the school.

“In February 2013, we were first motivated to be active in what’s going on in the schools when we were blindsided by the Mt. Shasta Unified School District board adding ‘school consolidation’ to their agenda,” said Jasmine.

The idea was to move all the elementary students to the middle school campus in an effort to save money. But many parents were against that. Mt. Shasta Elementary is a charming, historic white building with a stunning view of the mountain and lots of room for the children to run and play. There is a garden area and relatively modern play equipment perfect for small children, which is not available at the middle school site.

art-0414-art2“Being parents of kindergarteners we were kind of in the dark on the workings of the school board, budget, and any issues Mt. Shasta’s schools were having,” so the mothers held an informational meeting to discuss the impact. They organized picketing in front of the Mt. Shasta City Hall to protest consolidation, and their school-aged children, Jessa Walker and Madison Borgatti, came up with the idea of a bake sale that raised over $350. As Jasmine says, “It’s always easy to think someone needs to do something – we thought, ‘why not us?’”

Last August, Team J Moms discovered SilverGraphics, an art-based online fundraising business for schools that turns students’ artwork into tiles, and offers each child’s artwork on other products as well. Family and friends can order anything from aprons to iPhone covers, and sales benefit the school. Email teamjmoms@yahoo.com for details.

The two moms approached their superintendent of schools and obtained permission for the mural project, then found support from the non-profit Parents In Education (P.I.E.) group for collecting and administering the funds raised.

They worked with teachers for subject ideas to correspond with classroom curricula, and children created art pieces for their tiles on squares of paper using crayons, paints, markers and even pieces of cut paper. Kindergarteners drew self portraits; first graders, bugs and flowers; second graders, times of day; and third graders, local habitats.

Team J Moms also gave local businesses the opportunity to purchase tiles to support the elementary school. Some created their own artwork and others had school children create them using the business’s name or logo.

The tiles have arrived and the mural will be constructed on movable panels that will hang on the side of the elementary school building as beautification and inspiration. Funds raised by the project go through P.I.E. but their use is determined by Jenelle and Jasmine. Based on requests from teachers, the first grade will be getting Chromebook computers. Other requests are being considered.

Jasmine and Jenelle are very grateful for the support they have received from P.I.E., teachers, administrators, students and the community. But it is thanks to the determination and forethought of Team J Moms that the Mt. Shasta Elementary Student Art Tile Wall Project has given and will continue to give to the community. 

Kimberley Harper
About Kimberley Harper

Writer Kimberley Harper lives with her family and her cats in Siskiyou County. In her work in support of artists, she has come to a deep appreciation of the value of arts in the community.

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