Students learn math while supporting prison outreach

Published 3:50 pm Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Brionna Doss and Charity Singleton, fifth-grade enrichment students at U.S. Jones, roll cookie dough to get them ready to bake for the Kairos Prison Ministry.

Brionna Doss and Charity Singleton, fifth-grade enrichment students at U.S. Jones, roll cookie dough to get them ready to bake for the Kairos Prison Ministry.

Enrichment students at U.S. Jones Elementary School baked more than 500 cookies this week to support a nonprofit that works in prisons.

A group of 11 volunteers from Demopolis will join about 40 others from across Alabama this weekend to work a retreat at Donaldson Correctional Facility near Bessemer.

The weekend is part of the Kairos Prison Ministry, an ecumenical outreach that works in prisons across the world.

Fifth-grade enrichment teacher Dana Hill said she got the idea from Demopolis head football coach Tom Causey.

TJ Upchurch places cookie dough on a baking sheet.

TJ Upchurch places cookie dough on a baking sheet.

“Coach Causey stood up in church and said a great way for people to help would be to bake cookies,” she said. “I thought it would be a great project for the enrichment class, and it also goes along with the “super citizen” curriculum we’re teaching right now.”

Hill added that the project helped teach the students about measuring, converting and fractions as well as being efficient and helping others.

She added that the most difficult part of the project was combining the ingredients to make enough cookies.

“We had a recipe for two dozen cookies and we had to multiply that by 25,” she said. “Getting everything mixed together correctly was a challenge.”

Stephanie Benderson rolls cookie dough.

Stephanie Benderson rolls cookie dough.

The students worked on the project for about two weeks before baking the cookies Wednesday.

“All of the ingredients for the cookies cost around $200, and the students raised all of the money themselves,” Hill said. “We gathered the ingredients the first week, then combined them the next week and baked them [Wednesday].”

Hill added that the project exposed the students to different things.

“Hopefully they can take something away from it so they will want to help people in the future,” she said.

Allison Campbell places cookies on a baking sheet.

Allison Campbell places cookies on a baking sheet.

Prison chaplains select 42 inmates to participate in Kairos weekends, during which thousands of cookies will be consumed.

Demopolis volunteers working this weekend’s retreat at Donaldson include Justin Averette, John David Barnes, Mark Bedsole, Luke Hallmark, Chip Hughes, Ben Sherrod, Willie Slay, Brandon Smith and Freddie Webb. Rebecca Culpepper and Daphne Glasner work outside the prison on the cooking team.