Supporting the Whole Family Through Community Connections

AMDA staff members behind tables preparing food to serve to families
AMDA School 12 staff members prepare to serve dinner

Three separate entities in the city of Rochester, New York, share a building steeped in history and focused on serving their socio-economically diverse community. Rochester City School Number 12 – the Anna Murray-Douglass Acadamy (AMDA), the Frederick Douglass Recreation Center, or R-center, and the Frederick Douglass Community Library reside on the old Douglass family homestead. Referred to as the Douglass Family Campus, the organizations actively work together to create connections within the community that support the whole family. 

The collaboration began when AMDA School Principal Katie Trepanier invited Community Center Manager Carmen Jones and Library Branch Manager Evanna DiSalvo into the school to discuss ways they could work together. The collaboration has strengthened the programs each one offers and increased their ability to meet the needs of their community.  

They have aligned after-school programs at each location to provide options for the students who attend AMDA. They pool resources to provide programs that benefit the community through activities at the R-center and programs at the library. The partnership allows them to support the community in ways they were unable to do individually.  

A recent AMDA schoolwide event, sponsored by Wegmans, is just one example that highlights the success of the collaboration, drawing over 400 students and community members to the Douglass Family Campus on Monday, May 15. The event’s theme – Individually We Are a Drop of Water, Together We Make a Great Lake – was a nod to Lake Ontario, the Great Lake just a few miles north of the school. 

Students at every grade level, from pre-k to eighth, spent six weeks learning about the history, health benefits, and importance of water in our everyday lives. The event was an opportunity for students to share what they learned, while also providing the community an opportunity to connect and learn more about the R-center and community library.  

The evening began with a plant-forward dinner, prepared and provided by Lyell Avenue Wegmans, to connect to the water theme, starting with fruits and vegetables because they are hydrating foods. In addition to helping Store Chef Ryan Hayes plan the meal, our nutrition team also created a “hydration station” aimed to show kids how fun and tasty it can be to hydrate, by allowing them to mix various waters and juices to create something new.  

“Food brings people together,” said AMDA Principal Katie Trepanier. “This is an event that our families look forward to and our scholars take pride in. It is a great way to celebrate each person as an individual, or drop of water, and show the impact we can have when we unite for a common cause and become a Great Lake.”   

After enjoying dinner, guests were invited to walk the school hallways where students’ work was exhibited, visit the library to check out books about water, and stop by the R-center for student performances by the R-center’s step and robotics teams. The R-center team also provided music for the evening, performed by ROC Music and facilitated by Mr. David Agosto and Mr. Boutte. 

Student projects focused on water conservation, keeping our water clean, the importance of staying hydrated, the history of water, and how to advocate for an important cause. Soapbox speeches presented by students in grades seven and eight petitioned for an outdoor water station that would increase convenience and water consumption while also reducing plastic waste by providing a place for students to fill reusable water bottles. They presented their arguments atop a soapbox and encouraged listeners to sign their petition for the drinking station. 

It was important to our store and nutrition teams to not only feed the students and families at the event but empower them to make healthy, affordable meals at home. At the end of the evening families were given goodie bags from our Lyell Avenue store containing all the components from the evening’s meal so they could recreate it. 

This is the second year our Wegmans community and nutrition teams have partnered with school #12 to sponsor this event and feed the community. 

Beyond the Aisle

Going “beyond the aisle” allows us to dig deeper into stories that highlight our people, our products, and our community in a whole new way. 

Listen to the conversation Senior Communications Coordinator Mandee Puleo had with Katie, Carmen, Evanna, and Wegmans Community Relations Manager Linda Lovejoy about these important partnerships.

Community members in line for plant-forward meal being served by school staff.
Community members are served a plant-forward meal to begin the evening
Student on soapbox reading his speech
Student petitions for outdoor drinking station
Library display of books on shelves
Community library highlights books about water