As students were preparing to head back to school earlier this month, Skaggs Foundation was preparing to help keep those students hydrated and healthy. Earlier this month, Skaggs Foundation staff and volunteers delivered nearly 11,000 water bottles between 12 school districts in Stone and Taney counties.
Those water bottles have been key for many students during the recent high heat.
“As the nurse for the district, I have been especially grateful for these water bottles during our current heatwave, and their importance in reducing the likelihood of our students experiencing heat related illnesses,” said Kirbyville School Nurse Kathryn Gubin.
The water bottle project started in 2018 when Galena Abesville Elementary School Nurse Julia Hagler requested grant funds to install a water bottle filling station and provide water bottles for students. Hagler saw fewer students coming to her office for headaches and dehydration and believed their district also didn’t see a spike in flu cases like other districts because germs were not being spread at the water fountains. Skaggs Foundation eventually expanded the project to provide water bottles annually to all Stone and Taney county school districts.
“Students fill their water bottles daily and keep them in class,” Gubin said. “This allows our students to stay hydrated with fewer distractions during instruction time. It also has helped to keep our community healthier by reducing the potential of spreading disease by omitting the use of drinking fountains in our district.”
“Staying hydrated isn’t just a choice, it’s a necessity for young minds eager to learn and thrive,” explained Hollister School Nurse Mary Blackwood. “As a school nurse, I’ve witnessed firsthand the transformative power of water on students’ focus, energy, and overall well-being. Just as a plant needs water to flourish, young minds need the sustenance of hydration to reach their full potential.”
Funding for the water bottles is made possible through Skaggs Legacy Endowment. The endowment was established in 2013 and since that time, Skaggs Foundation has awarded more than $8.3 million to organizations working to improve health and wellness throughout Stone and Taney counties.