Happy students slid, rolled, jumped and strolled on and all around the brightly colored new rug in TJ Jarding’s South County Preschool classroom the morning of April 7. Their infectious joy spread to the adults, including members of the Five Star Kiwanis Club who came to deliver the rug that they co-purchased with the First 5 Siskiyou Children and Families Commission.

Happy students slid, rolled, jumped and strolled on and all around the brightly colored new rug in TJ Jarding’s South County Preschool classroom the morning of April 7.

Their infectious joy spread to the adults, including members of the Five Star Kiwanis Club who came to deliver the rug that they co-purchased with the First 5 Siskiyou Children and Families Commission.

Watching the Special Day Class students frolic, Kiwanis president elect Elizabeth Mitchell-Collord said she felt “an infusion of happiness.”

Kiwanis member Maxine Lopey agreed. “I’m good for a year,” she said.

“Oh my goodness. Wow,” exclaimed Jarding. “I’m so excited.”

Jarding, who has been teaching the preschool in Mount Shasta for 21 years, said the rug had been on her wish list for the last six or seven years.

Pointing out its features, including colors, numbers, alphabet letters, images of the sun and clouds, and its circular shape, Jarding said the “bright and cheery” rug will be the focal point for daily circle time activities and serve numerous instructional purposes.

She said she found the rug in a catalog several years ago, but the funding she hoped for to purchase it never came through at that time.

But then Barb Schmidt, who served as a substitute teacher’s aid in Jarding’s class this school year, knew from talking to Maxine Lopey that Five Star Kiwanis Club was looking for a donation project. Schmidt mentioned that to Jarding and the ball got rolling. As described by those present for Thursday’s rug unveiling: “TJ gave the catalog to Barb, Barb gave it to Maxine, Maxine presented it to Kiwanis.”?Now a large section of the thin drab brown carpet in the South County Preschool portable building has been transformed.

“This is a group that gets things done,”?said Schmidt, who is in the process of joining Five Star Kiwanis.

Karen Pautz of First Five Siskiyou was unable to attend Thursday’s rug unveiling, but Mitchell-Collord pointed out that First Five regularly partners with community organizations to use the funds it receives from tobacco taxes for local projects. “We appreciate them so much for finding niche needs that aren’t on the larger radar,” Mitchell-Collord said.
“They’re making things happen even in these tough times.”

Lopey described Five Star Kiwanis, which formed in Mount Shasta this past November, as the first all-women’s Kiwanis Club in the state.

She said the “busy group” has already hosted a banquet to honor first responders at Mercy Medical Center Mt. Shasta and started the BUG program to encourage student academic progress. They recently held a canned food drive at Ray’s and Rite Aid to help the local food pantry.

Five Star Kiwanis currently has about 30 members, according to Lopey, who is on the membership committee. May is their membership month, and they are hoping to double that number. Anyone interested in joining can call 926-5253 or 859-0230.