Alabama Power sponsors W.O. Parmer classroom for the holidays

Published 9:26 am Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Greenville chapter of the Alabama Power Service Organization, a volunteer group that focuses on charitable, community-based activity, spent Tuesday morning delivering and assembling some unique Christmas presents for a special education class at W.O. Parmer.

Special education instructor Alison Booker put together a wish list of items for her classroom, including balance ball chairs and desk pedal cycles meant to allow students to expend energy and remain active while engaged in the classroom. When APSO member Susan Lambert saw the list, she knew her organization could help. “I knew this was perfect for [APSO], to sponsor an entire classroom this Christmas,” explained Lambert. APSO has also previously provided food for a local Special Olympics event, according to Lambert. 

Booker was previously using an improvised creation consisting of tennis balls with bungee cords strapped under desks to give students a way to expend energy in the classroom. The balance ball chairs will replace normal desk chairs, allowing students to bounce lightly while sitting in class. 

“All of these are part of a kinesthetic classroom, so students can stay active and burn off energy while they are learning,” said Booker. Kinesthetic learning is a teaching philosophy also known as “active learning”, designed to create a learning environment based on motion and activity.

A group of Alabama Power employees came in on a day off to begin putting together the items and prepare them to deliver to the classroom. On Tuesday, they gathered in Booker’s special education classroom to assemble the remaining gifts while the students watched and, in some cases, helped out. “That’s what it’s all about, the joy on [the student’s] faces,” said Lambert.

The joy was contagious once the chairs and especially the small trampoline were assembled, with students immediately putting them to good use. Before the gift-givers left, the students said ‘thank you’ in near unison and handed out more than a few gracious hugs.

Booker is still in need of five Gaiam Kid’s balance ball chairs and five EXEFIT pedal desk cycles for the classroom. Interested potential sponsors can contact W.O. Parmer administrators.