UCity Kids Go BAWK! To School

Which came first, chicken or egg? For ABCToday school Brittany Woods Middle, it was neither. Instead, it was the coop:

When they’re not roaming the school courtyard, Brittany Woods chickens commune in custom-made coops built by ABCToday community partners.

Doing homework

When Principal Grace Lee and key Brittany Woods staff decided to put chickens into their sustainability plans, they checked Google and consulted expert friends. Their research showed soon enough that future UCity birds – of any breed, at any life stage – required dedicated shelter to stay safe, sound, and legal.

That’s where ABCToday came into play.

“Because Brittany Woods’s students spent most of 2020-2021 learning via Zoom,” says Dr. Lee, “our school partners were eager to find new and different ways to support our kids. Big Brothers Big Sisters and our ABCToday network had asked, ‘What can we do for Brittany?’ for months. When we set our minds on getting some birds, we turned to them and said, ‘How about a hand building a chicken coop?’

“Big Brothers Big Sisters ended up coming through with a whole engineering team!” laughs Dr. Lee. “We’re very lucky everyone was game!”

Building up

So that’s how one very wet Saturday this spring, several volunteers from Boeing put their brains and backs into making a home for Brittany’s feathered family.

Today the resulting structures are a-cluck with energy. Students enrolled in the school’s brand-new Sustainability elective are often nearby, as are kids and staff passing through to share some sweet corn or get in a little chicken therapy between classes.

Principal Lee says it all represents the impact ABCToday can make as it responds to school vision with practical, creative approaches to student supports.

“The way BBBSEMO and ABCToday’s worked with us goes beyond coops or chickens. It’s really about reflecting what sustainability looks like: community partners working with collective resources and ongoing commitment that’s not just charity. That’s about something lasting, and rooted in true relationship,” says Dr. Lee.

So, about those eggs…?

Now that Brittany’s got its coop and hens, everyone’s crossed their fingers for the first eggs to be laid in October –just in time for World Egg Day (Yes, there is such a thing!). That means this story doesn’t end here. Be sure to follow BBBSEMO’s social media channels and Humans of St. Louis for special “Bawk! To School” update October 8th!

About the Author

Elaine Cha

Elaine Cha, Storyteller/Journalist at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri, creates and contributes to all kinds of content that highlights ways BBBSEMO impacts people's lives. Her past work includes producing engagement content with/for Forward Through Ferguson and the Ferguson Commission; the Nine Network of Public Media; and the Regional Arts Commission.

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