The BHHS Legacy Foundation has donated $20,000 to a project designed to protect 4,200 students in nearly all elementary school classrooms from Laughlin to Topock. POKE (Protect Our Kids’ Environment) is an award-winning program of the Colorado River Women’s Council, and is raising money for devices that prevent classroom doors from being opened from the outside during active shooter and other violent situations.
“The Sleeve” is a product of Fighting Chance Solutions, an Iowa-based company founded by teachers concerned about classroom safety. The metal device is fabricated in Muscatine, Iowa.
POKE was launched by the Women’s Council shortly after the mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. The Legacy Foundation grant is POKE’s largest single donation so far. POKE has previously raised money to equip elementary schools with emergency two-way radios linking them to police dispatchers, classroom emergency supplies and bottled water for student and staff use during lockdown situations. POKE founding chairperson Maureen Anderson, a member of both the Bullhead Elementary School District and Women’s Council boards, received the Spirit of Arizona Award during last fall’s prestigious Community Achievement Awards.
Fighting Chance Solutions president Daniel Nietzel and chief financial officer Mike Morgan, both co-founders and teachers, are measuring all 400 classroom doors in the Bullhead City, Mohave Valley and Topock Elementary School Districts, as well as Bennett Elementary School in Laughlin and charter schools Mohave Accelerated Learning Center and Young Scholars Academy.
“We are thrilled that the Legacy Foundation has joined other businesses and individuals in providing both the financing and momentum to complete this next step,” said Anderson. “For Daniel and Mike to personally check out our schools and measure our doors for ‘The Sleeve’ is incredible!”
One of Fighting Chance Solutions’ sleeves protected students during a campus shooting earlier this month at UCLA. A professor had purchased a sleeve on his own and used it to secure his classroom even before SWAT teams arrived.
In addition to the $20,000 Legacy Foundation Grant, Colorado River Women’s Council has raised an additional $5,600 for “The Sleeve” classroom protection project. Since its inception three years ago, POKE has raised another $25,000 in cash and in-kind donations for POKE’s emergency water, radio and medical supply program.