The Bossier Young Marines program has received its largest, single financial donation this week in response to a federal funding cut by the Department of Justice.
Denise Bankston presented Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington with a check for $30,000 on behalf of A-Kids-Choice Foundation Wednesday afternoon at the Viking Drive Substation. A-Kid’s-Choice Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides Bossier Parish schools and educators additional support needed in the classroom in order to open the door for new possibilities in individual education paths.
“Words cannot express my gratitude and sincere appreciation for this donation from Denise to our Young Marines program,” Whittington said. “Denise is a huge supporter of our youth here in Bossier, and our Young Marines and young people who will enter the program will benefit tremendously because of her donation.”
Bankston, who founded A-Kids-Choice three years ago, feels that the Young Marines program is worth fighting for because of its principles and the impact it has on local youth.
“Learning that they were not going to get funding because of the word ‘God’ really bothered me. A-Kids-Choice Foundation is based on faith,” Bankston said. “God has really blessed me to be able to do this.”
To date, Sheriff Whittington said the Bossier Sheriff’s Office has received approximately $60,000 in donations, ranging from just a few dollars to upwards of thousands at once. While he appreciates the financial contributions, Whittington said his mission to preserve the morals of the Young Marines program isn’t financially driven.
“Money has never been our focus,” Whittington said. “Whether $30,000 or $3, all of these donations are truly appreciated and proof to me that we are doing the right thing here in Bossier Parish.”
Last school year, A-Kids-Choice Foundation selected Carrie Martin Elementary School in Plain Dealing as their fourth adopted school, joining Curtis Elementary, Legacy Elementary and Meadowview Elementary. Bankston, or Mrs. Dee Dee as she’s known to Bossier Schools, said she does it all for the benefit of the children.
“I just love the kids,” she added. “I’ve got a big heart.”
For more information on A-Kid’s-Choice Foundation, visit www.akidschoicefoundation.com. For more information on the Young Marines program, visit www.bossiersheriff.com/young-marines.