OKLAHOMA CITY - For a lot of Oklahoma children, school is a place to learn and to get an education to one day make their own way in this world, but for others, school is much more than that.
It is a haven and a refuge from a world they are already tackling long before children are supposed to.
Mrs. Hunt is a teacher at Cleveland Elementary.
You often hear that it takes a village to raise a child.
If Cleveland Elementary is a village, Mrs. Hunt is the mayor.
She created a Facebook page called “We Are the Village.” It meets the needs of students all year, and that’s why Jeanene Graves nominated her for First Fidelity Bank's Pay It Forward.
Mrs. Hunt thought she was headed to a meeting with the school district about a summer program, but she was shocked to find News 4 there instead.
"I don't know what to say."
But Jeanene does.
"Because I appreciate everything you do for the neighborhood and for everyone around you because you give of yourself so much- just letting us know when there is a need," she said.
"Just praying for God to show open doors to help out,” Mrs. Hunt said. “And when you do that, God opens many doors for people who need help. People who are on that page who really contribute and donate. There are so many people who get these projects funded. In many ways, I'm just a middle man, which is very humbling."
If you want to hear something humbling, listen to this.
"There were so many kids who couldn't do homework because they worked right after school,” Hunt said. “I taught third grade and sitting at my desk there was really one of my students walking by with a tamale cart who sold tamales after school (which were delicious). That really kind of sparked it."
They also come to the rescue when a student needs help with homework, needs a coat, clothing or even something as simple as a Mother’s Day gift for their mom.
"There are a lot of single moms and grandparents who are raising grandchildren,” Hunt said. "There are a lot of just random things that come up. I know a lot of women who are trying to get their lives back in order. Moms who have been in transitional living situations. That comes up where they're getting housing for the first time in several years."
Houses this village is helping turn into homes.
Pay It 4Ward is sponsored by First Fidelity Bank.