Area school first to start nonprofit to help students, families in need

Mad River Local Schools to launch Neighborhood Bridges Mad River.

RIVERSIDE — Mad River Local Schools will become the first Miami Valley district starting a collaborative nonprofit seeking to connect children and families in need with community resources, the district announced.

Neighborhood Bridges Mad River, which launches today, allows subscribers to donate to provide for students in need, officials said.

Community members can donate to meet the needs posted on a website, which will be facilitated by Area Director Brittany Heckman, a mother of two boys in the district and a volunteer, according to the district.

“By partnering with neighborhood bridges, Mad River Local Schools will have the tools to engage our entire community to come together to meet the needs of students and families that are experiencing challenges,” Superintendent Chad Wyen said in the announcement.

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Neighborhood Bridges, founded in Ohio in 2017 by Rick Bannister, aims to bridge communities with schools in providing basic needs, removing barriers and seeking equity for students, according to its website.

It has engaged its 38 communities in Ohio, Alabama, and Tennessee in driving solutions and impacting more than 260,000 students since its launch on Martin Luther King Day in 2017, according to Mad River officials. School district counselors, administrators and appointed representatives of service organizations will post needs on behalf of students and families, according to the district.

Needs are shared via email once a day but only when a new need is posted and recipients remain anonymous.

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The group will work with stakeholders in the community to engage resources to help drive support and care to students and neighbors in need. Typical needs include clothing, shoes, coats, school supplies, school fees, furniture, household items and monetary donations for medical or household expenses, district officials said.

All donations get directed to Mad River students and their families, according to the announcement.

Families, community members, and businesses can follow needs in the community by subscribing to email updates on the webpage at www.neighborhoodbridges.org/community/madriver-oh.

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