HESPERIA — As Sultana High School students trudged toward class early Monday morning, they were surprised by a cheerful greeting from a dozen local business women and mothers representing the “Mom Mob.”
“It’s cool to stay in school!” the women chanted as students walked through the school entrance, high-fiving them as they went.
The women, business leaders, educators and mothers, came together as part of the Positive Alternative Choices for Kids (PACK) Coalition. The coalition hosts school greeting activities at High Desert schools to “motivate and increase students' desire to stay in school and learn all they can in school.”
The "Mom Mob" came to fruition after a few women were inspired by seeing photos and videos on Facebook of the “Men Mob” greeting local students.
Regional Director at Inland Empire United Way and former Adelanto mayor Cari Thomas co-chairs the "Mom Mob" along with Lorrie Denson, a Victor Valley College Foundation board member.
“It’s great to see the men stepping up and encouraging students,” Thomas said. “We were definitely inspired by them ... And it’s important to get both sides.”
Many students looked hesitant at first about walking through the entrance as the women cheered them on, but by the time they were through the gates, it seemed as if all of them were wearing big smiles.
“Some of them are very shy at first,” said Cindie Schmidt, owner and trainer for Happy Healthy Kids. “But as they walk away, they’re all smiling and it just perks up their day.”
Thomas said they chose to visit schools on Mondays on purpose.
“Not all kids might have the best home life, and so weekends aren’t necessarily something they look forward to,” Thomas said. “We want to start their week off right and let them know that there are people in the community that care about them.”
Sultana was the fourth school visited by the "Mom Mob" this year. Next month the women plan to strike Hesperia High School for their last stop of the school year, but Thomas said they are already planning which schools to visit next year.
The "Men Mob" has been busy with its own school greeting events, holding one just last Wednesday at University Preparatory.
Made up of business leaders, Sheriff’s deputies, County firefighters, pastors and others, the "Men Mob" formed a pair of lines for students to walk between as they came into school, offering words of encouragement and high-fives to all.
“The 'Men Mob' is a fun partnership that shows kids we care about them and their success in school and beyond,” said 1st District County Supervisor Robert Lovingood, whose staff organized and participated in the event.
The idea for the "Men Mob" came from an informal group of service leaders, known as “The Fellas.”
“I appreciate the men of the High Desert for partnering with us and putting together numerous 'Men Mobs' at their local schools,” said Terrance Stone, CEO of Young Visionaries Youth Leadership Academy and "Men Mob" co-organizer.
Stone said civic groups and organizations are encouraged to expand the effort.
“You don’t have to wait for us,” Stone said. “If you want to do a 'Men Mob' you can get some men together and contact the school, go out there and just support those kids.”
Charity Lindsey may be contacted at 760-951-6231 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on twitter @DP_Charity.