CISTA March Mingle benefit returns to the 80s
On Saturday, March 15, March Mingle brings to Tecumseh all-you-can-eat food samples from 15 area restaurants, ‘80s music on a dance floor, a silent auction and raffles. Held at the A.J. Smith Recreation Center, the purpose of the evening is to benefit Tecumseh students. March Mingle begins at 6 p.m. and ends at 10 p.m. Food is served from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and the silent auction goes from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.This is the second year Communities in Schools of the Tecumseh Area (CISTA) has sponsored the event, a combination of the popular Taste and Savor events.“The whole purpose is to raise money for Communities in Schools,” said CISTA Executive Director Heather Masten. “Our mission is to surround students with a community of support empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.”To support the organization’s mission, fundraising is necessary to cover operating costs. March Mingle is CISTA’s fundraiser for the year.“Basically our biggest expense is our salaries,” Masten said. “The schools are generous and house us, so we don’t pay rent.”In addition to Masten, there are four site coordinators for CISTA. “They coordinate, collaborate and provide services,” said Masten. “They work really closely with the counselors and the teachers.”Cindy Hook works with students at Tecumseh Middle School. Diane Savoia is based at Tecumseh High School. Rhonda Tinsley works at Tecumseh Acres, and Tracy Hedrick works with the other three elementary schools.The coordinators fill needs for students in the schools, covering areas of academics, college and career prep, and behavior issues. The goal is to allow teachers to focus on student instruction, with coordinators taking care of services needed outside of the classroom, from homework assistance to supplementing nutrition to helping supply clothing or glasses.“We do two different levels of service — school and one-on-one,” Masten said.The 2012-2013 school year was the first year CISTA could provide four on-site school coordinators. A grant from the Lenawee United Way foundation provided the financial assistance.“The long term goal is to have site coordinators at each of the schools,” said Masten.Site coordinators provide programs at the schools themselves, or bring in volunteers to host different programs. Retirees and students are indispensable to CISTA, helping to staff programs and assist the site coordinators.At Tecumseh High School, Savoia coordinates an academic support group with the goal of helping students focus and stay organized. “Diane works one-on-one with the kids,” Masten said.In addition to coordinating peer mentoring, tutoring for students, and after school homework help at Tecumseh Middle School, Hook helps students get the clothes they need. “Cindy worked on expanding their clothes closet, The Locker Room, to include all sizes,” said Masten. “It’s not just a clothes closet for the middle school but for all sites.”Every week, Tinsley puts together Friday Food Packs for elementary students who need additional nutritional support over the weekend. There is also a family safety night planned for elementary families later this year.Students play a big role in the services provided by CISTA during the school year. “We do a needs assessment at the end of the year,” Masten said. “We talk to students in the fourth grade through seniors.”By purchasing tickets to the March Mingle, people help CISTA continue to serve the students of Tecumseh Schools. The silent auction features four one-day hopper passes to Disney World in Florida, an autographed Detroit Red Wing photo, tickets for Adrian Symphony Orchestra, tickets to Henry Ford Museum, a sports fan package from Sports Hut, a Pandora bracelet from International Diamond, a senior portrait session with Brindamour Photography, a patio umbrella from ACO, a Skydive Tecumseh certificate for a jump, a facial and make-up application from Bad Hair Day, as well as donations from Martin’s Home Center, Fit On It Detroit, Carter Rehabilitation, Curves, Grey Fox, and Kapnick Orchard.John Hess will be the DJ spinning tunes from the ‘80s. “We’re encouraging people to wear their ‘80s attire,” said Masten.Because beer and wine will be available to purchase, March Mingle is an age 21 and over event. Tecumseh Trolley is offering rides at $10 per couple, with reservations made in advance.