The 56th Medical Group adopted Thompson Ranch Elementary School in December 2011 to promote education, mentor the students and provide help for the school.
â€œItâ€™s important to give back to our community,â€ said Senior Airman Jazzema Farris, 56th Medical Support Squadron laboratory technician. â€œWorking with the students allows us to help motivate them to stay in school and encourage education.â€
Col. Yolanda Bledsoe, 56th MDG commander, said, â€œI firmly believe, and study after study has taught us, that there is no tool more effective for development of our nation than the empowerment of people through education.â€
As a child, Bledsoeâ€™s mom pushed her to learn as much as she could, wanted her to do her best and give back much more than she ever received.
â€œI still value and embrace those characteristics today,â€ she said. â€œI seek out opportunities to pay it forward every day.â€
Those characteristics make up who Bledsoe is. When given the opportunity to select community service projects in Arizona, she chose to adopt a school.
â€œChildren are our future, but every 26 seconds a child drops out of school,â€ Bledsoe said. â€œWhat will our future look like if our children continue to drop out of school at these rates? Our future lies in their hands, therefore we have pledged to be present in the classroom, to show children that education is important and that through education, hard work and determination despite social or economic background, the impossible becomes possible.â€
According to Farris, MDG works hand-in-hand with Thompson Ranch at any big event they have.
Some of the events are Dr. Seuss Week, Read Around the Ranch & Kindergarten Round-up, field days, hearing and vision screenings and festivals.
The MDG has also mentored and tutored students, and given some a tour of the MDG.
â€œWe love seeing the Airmen interact with our students and helping at events,â€ said Jody Jones, Thompson Ranch Elementary teacher. While receiving the base tour the students loved interacting with the Airmen and learning about each job.
According to Thompson Ranch teachers, they are appreciative Airmen partnering with the school.
â€œEach time Airmen come to our school they make an impact that theyâ€™re probably unaware of,â€ said Ericka Loyd, a teacher at the school. â€œThey have provided a positive influence on our children by talking about subjects like respect, discipline, honor, and setting and reaching goals.â€
Both sides are hoping to continue the partnership.
â€œChildren are our future,â€ Farris said. â€œWe want them to stay motivated in school so they can graduate and have a better chance at being successful.â€