CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Cape Girardeau Central Middle School students were busy on Tuesday, December 11 after school designing mugs, writing letters and other crafts to give to various groups in the communities.
The after school organization is called the CMS Tiger LILIES. LILIES stands for Ladies, Inspiring, Legacy, Independent, Exceptional, Sisterhood.
“We have 83 girl currently enrolled into our program,” CMS Guidance Counselor Becky Wright explained. “It’s a mentor-ship where we build relationships. We do lessons and activities on everything from etiquette to social media safety, self-esteem, general health and wellness and everything else a fifth and sixth grader needs to know.”
Wright said it's very important for the students to learn these particular skills now which include communication skills and how to interact with people. She said she has already seen improvement from many girls.
“We have seen some drastic improvements. Not only in behavior but we also track academics and attendance,” Wright stated. “Attendance is probably what we see the most success in right now. We are seeing a lot of success in behavior also.”
The girls each meet once a week for a lesson or activity and come together once a month for a special project.
"For instance, today we're doing holiday activities," Wright said. "We're making mugs for local seniors that we will donate to at nursing homes. We are also making cards for service men and women that are in medical centers right now. So we are trying to do some service projects every month."
Sixth grade student Zakiya Spillers said this program has helped her in a variety of ways including etiquette and inner beauty.
"I learned a lot of table manners and being respectful to everybody and especially how to help others who need help in encouraging others," Spillers said.
While the Tiger LILIES were busy were their arts and crafts, gifts were dropped off at the school from the Saint Francis Medical Center, Red Letter Communications and other individuals who wanted to adopt families of students that were in Tiger LILIES.
A total of 45 Tiger LILIES families expressed concerns for the need of items for the Christmas season.
"Some were telling us they needed food," Wright recalled. "Some were hygiene products, household products and gifts."
Wright said the Tiger LILIES didn't focus on gifts this holiday season as most of their requests were everyday essentials.
“It wasn’t like iPhone and tablets,” Wright said. “It was food and clothing and it really is just eye opening the need we have in our community and how as simple as a good meal and warm clothes meant to them.”