The Big Picture

The Big Picture - Our Action Plan and Our Vision.  


Phase One involved direct funding of classroom and school projects (STEM) for traditional neighborhood public schools; Phase Two involves the school’s neighborhood community. This second or Community Action Network (CAN) phase can be funded up to the initial limit of about $6,000.

STEM-CAN Supporters (SCS), is an educational charitable 501[c](3)corporation that is driven to help traditional neighborhood public school communities according to six basic principles:

  • SCS is deeply convinced ‘it takes a community’ to educate its own youngsters maturely.
  • All SCS funds and efforts are motivated “For 100% graduation of caring students.”
  • All SCS efforts are approved by the clear authority of the local Public School Principal.
  • No one knows a school community’s needs and joys better than that community itself.
  • No one, no one, really cares as much about a community’s success as that community does.
  • All SCS funds are directed to enhancing cooperation within the Public School Community

These six principles provide the secure and consistent foundation for all SCS efforts to strengthen traditional neighborhood public school communities; the most basic principle demands the practical realization that it really does take a cooperating community to develop a fully effective public school. However, members of some school communities are so challenged with the demanding details of individual survival that community cooperation necessary for solving community problems may seem to be out of reach.

The efforts of SCS are directed toward giving the lie to the pessimistic conviction that some communities simply cannot come together to address effectively their own specific problems nor even to richly enjoy their own limited victories. The pessimists say simply it cannot be done; we of SCS insist it can be done, and we (Community Action Network) CAN help make it happen.


SCS helps by funding projects, supplies and equipment that the school (through its teachers) finds to be currently necessary but beyond current school budget. Teachers cannot serve their community without adequate textbooks, equipment or supplies; nor can they teach students who are truant. Similarly, students cannot be taught if their teacher is absent. SCS helps directly to address such immediate needs when they are clearly specified and approved with the authority of the principal.


The above near-term survival efforts lay the foundation for more extensive school community building. Only after basic individual survival needs are met does it become feasible to work together to develop the amazing strength of community cooperation. If a parent, student or teacher is depressed, overwhelmed or discouraged, help must come from the neighborhood, the caring community nearby; those suffering in isolation often feel like they don’t even have bootstraps to grab onto; then they truly need their neighbors and/or fellow teachers for adequate strength.


Everyone has problems and dreams, challenges and hopes. And most of us individuals seek to solve our problems and realize our dreams as a part of our community. When we hurt or fail, we appreciate a caring neighbor who helps; when we succeed or win, we want neighbors to know we won and rejoice with us. Those unfortunate ones who cannot find neighbors to help in bad times and share joy in good times are likely to be lonely and sad, perhaps drug dependent, certainly a burden for themselves and their community.

Besides subsidizing specific school projects and programs, SCS supports extensive traditional public school community neighboring.


In about an hour and a half a week (give or take), community residents can come to enjoy productive neighboring, neighboring that makes it easy to get to know each other face-to-face, solve problems together, and celebrate victories together. Some details…

Who? … Anyone in the neighborhood who wants to meet with neighbors face-to-face--- A moderator or group leader can usually be found from PTO leadership or local community leadership. Very few will likely show interest initially; however, as word gets around about the warmth, strength and helpfulness of really good neighboring, participation will grow. Our Community Hour involves all in the community who wish to participate.

What? … Our Community Hour, A regular luncheon Meet Up

When? … Sunday, Noon to 1:23 (Ideal time may need to be adjusted per circumstances.)

Where? … In our public school cafeteria (after outgrowing founders’ living rooms)

Why? … Because it takes an involved community to make neighboring easy and productive fun; and without productive neighboring, the problems based on neglect, laziness, ignorance, or poverty will never get tackled. Likewise, without productive neighboring the limited victories will never be celebrated and enjoyed to the fullest. Face-to-face neighboring makes caring real.

With one or several (rotating) leading moderators to keep things fresh and moving:

 “Welcome; enjoy your lunch” -- Neighborly conversation during brief lunch

  1. School news (good and bad) from school specifically (brief, fast-moving)
  2. Personal news and announcements (good and bad) from community (short)
  3. Does someone have good joke[s], funny or touching story to share with neighbors?
  4. Take pride in the good; for the bad, “How can we as community members help?” discussion
  5. Suggestion/question box (anonymous or signed for personal feedback) items from last week
  6. Public question/answer section (as time and interest allow)
  7. Suggestions for program committee or agenda items for next week’s meeting
  8. What can I/we do this week to make life better for someone? Group or individual projects
    1. Treat others as you want to be treated
    2. Share today’s insights with an absent neighbor
  9. Door prizes: cash, new/used items, valuable coupons/gift cards for local products/services
  10. Adjournment and opportunity to swap door prizes by mutual agreement (clean-up help?)  Note: Expect very few attendees at first few meetings; persevere; as word spreads into the community, gradually more come to appreciate the great value of warm-blooded neighbors
    1. Together we CAN
    2. It takes our community to solve our community problems and enjoy our solutions
    3. Caring neighbors educate caring students; caring students stay out of jail.
  11. STEM-CAN Supporters can pay costs of at least the first four Sunday luncheon meetings.
    1. This includes cost of food/food service, utilities, added janitorial cost (no building rent).
    2. Door prize money is also included.

Of course, it is easier now to say ‘it can’t be done’, because then I don’t have to get involved. But determination is stubbornness in the pursuit of good; losers quit, winners hang in there and enjoy growth even if it is slow. At first, perhaps only a parent or two, or the leader[s] or committee will show up to enjoy lunch and discussion of what’s next. OK, it’s a little start; let that be known to a couple of others who care but need a bit of urging; then, with adequate stubbornness (and decent lunches), word gets around and numbers will increase to where community members are enjoying getting to know and help each other. Joy of ‘Our Community Hour’ sharing becomes contagious.

 Gradually more and more people see how S T E M C A N goes far beyond just STEM clubs:

  • School Team Explores More Community Action Networking for fun, food and problem solutions.
  • School Team is more than just educational professionals—families, businesses, friends.
  • School Team can request funding by SCS for specific supplies, projects or programs.

School Team Expects More Community Action Networking for fun, food and problem solutions:

  • Truancy avoidance committee
  • Teacher recognition committee
  • Scholarship committee
  • Tutoring assistance committee
  • Team/school spirit committee
  • Arts/cultural enrichment committee
  • Field trip sponsors/chaperons
  • Academic competitions committee (intra- and inter-scholastic)
  • Entertainment committee
  • Baby sitting services
  • Supplemental supplies committee
  • Ready volunteers to meet school/community needs

Parents, neighborhood community leaders, principals of disadvantaged neighborhood public schools may apply for funding by using the Community Assistance Proposal form.