Glen Oak Primary Goes Green with Grant

By Anna Yee

January 11, 2012 Updated Jan 11, 2012 at 7:47 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- This is Anne Mayo's first year as the Peoria Glen Oak Primary School counselor.

Upon her arrival, she was bombarded with an issue many teachers hope they never have to deal with, death.

"It was hard," said Mayo. "It was interesting to see. The school came together so wonderfully though."

Last August, the school's nearly 800 students mourned the death of 8-year-old Albert Billups Wilson in a drive-by shooting.

She hopes to keep that togetherness going strong by building a memorial garden in honor of Wilson, and other losses she says happen all too often.

"The kids deal with a lot," said Mayo. "So, if they need a little bit of a time out and a cool down period, it'll be a beautiful place they can go and hang out."

Mrs. Mayo says the one thousand dollar grant will go a long way in buying: "flowers, stepping stones, maybe some trees, an just the tools the kids need to be able to plant."

And it will be a hands-on project for the students, helping to turn the page.

"I think that the more that we talk about it, and the more that we deal with grief in a healthy way, we'll see the kids respond better to it," continued Mayo.

"Instead of it being something to be scared of or something that's approached with fear or misunderstanding, the more we can talk about it and teach them to deal with it in a healthy way, they'll just be stronger."