BY SKYLER PRIETO

Cypress Bay’s Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) has partnered up with Students Feeding Florida to write letters to children as a Service-Learning project this November. Junior and Cadet Command Sergeant Major Alyssa Wagner was involved in the creation of the Students Feeding Florida organization during the 2020 summer and JROTC partnered up with them.

“JROTC was super excited to get to work for a project that directly helped encourage the children and hopped on the opportunity immediately,” Wagner said. “With children ranging from kindergarten to 9th grade [receiving the letters], JROTC thought it would be a good idea to let the kids know they matter.”

In the past Wagner gave food to the homeless while driving with her mom. She said she became inspired to help those who are struggling, especially during the pandemic. So, Wagner had an event where letters were written to school-age children through Students Feeding Florida.

 “[We] thought of this project,” Wagner said. “[We] brought it up to our wonderful instructors and helped write instructions and a place for everyone to submit these letters.”

Sergeant First Class James Jackson said his favorite part about the program is how members become family through teamwork, leadership and teaching. Jackson said he allows the Cadets a level of independence after the Service-Learning lesson.

“We do a Service-Learning project each year, and what makes this different from community service is that the Cadets take charge of the whole event,” Jackson said. “They come up with the event, plan, organize and they go through the whole process and [my favorite part about teaching JROTC is] motivating the cadets to become better citizens.”