Lions club creates special space for high school support group

Dave Lein, Editor

Courtesy photo

Elk Rapids High School / Sunrise Academy Counselor Samantha “Sam” Bueby soaks in the surroundings of a “new” room for her support group students, created by the Elk Rapids Lions Club.

ELK RAPIDS – In a little over a week, the Elk Rapids Lions Club gathered, purchased, donated and set up furniture, along with other room accents for the counseling department of Elk Rapids High School.

The effort was in response to a previous request submitted by ERHS and Sunrise Academy Counselor Samantha “Sam” Bueby during the club’s latest grant cycle. The request was to help in “any way” to create a more comfortable space for students who attend group therapy.

Prior to the recent donation, Bueby said students met with her for their group sessions on the floor under bright florescent lights of a classroom which doubles as a storage space and place to organize standardized testing materials.

“I wrote to the Lions Club asking for a grant to be able to buy a rug, lamps and bean bags for the students to make the space more comfortable,” she said. “After that initial request, the group more than doubled in size with students who need support.”

According to Bueby, that support often related to grief experienced following the death of a relative, loved one or fellow student.

“Rather than simply awarding a random monetary amount,” Lions Club President Kim Ranger said, “our grant committee requested to meet with Sam, learn more about the group and its specific needs, and to see the room.

“Upon hearing more about the support group and the students it serves, along with seeing the current room – which included everything from a stored Christmas tree and supply boxes to excess filing cabinets and a varied mix of long tables and chairs – we knew that we could do better.”

Ranger and the committee took that thought back to the club’s board and membership.

“Once we explained the situation and our ideas, our board and members endorsed the idea, and agreed to allocate necessary funding toward the project,” she said.

In a short turnaround to beat the upcoming spring break, a committee was formed which went to work immediately securing and purchasing items. But the effort didn’t stop there. Last weekend, committee and club members actually delivered, assembled and set up the room as a surprise for Bueby and her students.

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