WARREN - Local organizations, individuals and businesses who have contributed to Warren City Schools to help students were recognized recently at the 20th annual Adopt-A-School luncheon.
Jean Tunstall of the Warren Altrusa Club said the adopters make a difference in the lives of the students.
"The children we first helped are now grown up and now have children of their own. Over the years, we have helped thousands of children, and our efforts have made a difference in their lives," Tunstall said.
She said the adopters come in and out of the children's lives, helping them in many ways.
"The children who have come into my life have made a big difference in it," Tunstall said.
While many of the students needed help with their reading and other subjects, Tunstall said some of the children needed an adult who would listen to them and care about what they had to say.
"So many kids just need a hug now and then that they may not get at home. Many overcame obstacles and got good grades," Tunstall said, noting many families faced hard economic times in recent years.
Mayor Doug Franklin said Adopt-A-School has played an important part in making resources available to the students.
"I applaud the efforts of all the volunteers who made this program successful," Franklin said.
Tunstall said when Jim Brown, former editor of the Tribune Chronicle, started the program, it was a consortium of churches wanting to do something for the children since they were the future of the community. Brown then joined with the efforts of the Altrusa Club.
"I believe we have been a good influence on the students and will continue to be," she said.
Sister Diane Tress, director of mission integration at St. Joseph Health Center, said this is the 18th year the hospital has taken part.
"Children want to know that they have a voice and will be heard," she said which was made possible with a pen pal program which had hospital staff sending letters to the students.
"Each of us has a story we can share to a child. I tell the employees to speak from their hearts in their letters," Tress said.
She said this year when the children came to the hospital, each was given a portrait and one year each student and an adult made a quilt to be displayed.
"Each of you provides what may be lacking in their lives. It takes one person to change the life of another. You have shared in raising up our community where hope will abound," Tress said.
Many local businesses and organizations contributed items to elementary students who were given school supplies, tours, treats, special skits and programs and were read to by many volunteers.