It is deep in our human nature to care for other people. Many years ago that was the only way for people to survive. We humans still come equipped with caring for others or showing empathy. A good example of one community showing empathy for all its children and teachers is Marathon, Wisconsin.

Caring citizens in Marathon, Wisconsin established the Marathon School District Endowment Fund. In the years since its beginning, this fund has supported projects throughout the Marathon School District. The Endowment Fund has given tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships to college-bound students.

Grants have been given to teachers for projects ranging from learning new Early Childhood educational techniques to accessing iPad technology. In this way, learning and teaching are strengthened and expanded.

The “Making a Difference” (MAD) program was developed to recognize one staff member from each of the Marathon schools who has made a positive difference in the lives of students.

Each spring a banquet is held to honor teachers from each of the four schools: Marathon Area Elementary School, the middle school and the high school as well as St. Mary’s Elementary School.

The Foundation, through the district, has partnered with Riiser R-Store in Marathon to create a “Pride Pump.” Riiser Energy contributes two cents per gallon sold through this pump to support the Foundation. Last year Riiser gave $8,496.98 to the Foundation.

The Endowment Fund is also supported through floor tiles for the lobby area of the Marathon High School Wellness Center. People may buy an engraved floor tile ranging from $100 to $500, depending on the amount of engraving.

For more information, you can visit the District’s website: www.marathon.k12.wi.us and follow the Endowment Foundation link. You can also follow the Foundation on Facebook.

Imagine growing up in a community which cares for all its children and teachers in this visible way. Children are learning empathy by seeing it all around them in their community, their school and their classroom. Empathy is in the air they breathe.