As I am writing this, I have a hankering for a medium coffee with cream from Dunkin’ Donuts. You have probably read enough emails, blogs, and newsletter articles from me in the last few years that you know how important coffee has become to the culture of student life here at Illiana. Since it has become an important part of student life, it has become an important part of my life. Coffee is the encouragement card for this generation and it is also the tool for starting so many good conversations. Good coffee has the ability to help build community which is so important in our world today.
When you look at the new building, we have several community spaces. You will see four different common areas where students can gather, talk, and build community. These spaces are going to be very popular and spots where we can get kids off their phones and look each other in the eye and have conversations. However to help this along, we are designing a space in the center of the new building, right off of the main commons, where kids can buy their morning coffee. So many of our kids are already buying foofy lattes on their way to school, but now we can give them a place to sit and build community as they sip on their coffee. In addition to coffee, we would like to offer morning snacks. I am amazed at how many of our students don’t eat breakfast. So this will be a space where you can get a cup of coffee and a muffin and then sit in our commons areas. I have big dreams of what this space can help do for our school community.
Right now this space is called “the store” which is way too boring for me. So I would love the community to come together and help us name this space much like we did with the ARC. For the next week, I would encourage you to submit your suggestions for a store name here. Please submit these by Friday, February 23. The following week, our committee will select the top names and send out a poll for the community to vote.
As we dream of this space, we are also looking for someone to champion this store. What do I mean by champion? It can mean a few different things. One would be to help run the store. I imagine it could be open every day from 7:00-10:00 am. We are looking for people who would like to help us choose good coffee and select healthy options for students to buy at reasonable prices. We need help determining exactly what this space will be and how to make it happen. We will also people who would love to support financially. (If you are interested in any of this, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Finally, as I finish writing this, I just got back from Dunkin’ Donuts (yes, I took a break because I couldn’t focus). I bought coffee for a couple staff members, but also a student who was struggling. This is what this space is going to be about. It is more than coffee and snacks. It is about encouragement, conversation, and community, things we emphasize daily. Thanks for helping us dream and find every way we can to reach and build the hearts and minds of our kids.