NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Carla Emerson of Hays has been chosen to be a recipient of a new program called the Country Music Teacher Classroom Initiative.


The program provides teachers with classroom supplies and project funds across the United States.


Teachers create a wish list of desired items for their classroom and project materials needed throughout the year. This list is distributed weekly on social media as part of country musician star Jake Gill’s ongoing initiative to serve children and now teachers throughout the US and the world.


Items can be purchased by anyone in the world and delivered directly to the selected teacher.


Emerson is a Special Education teacher at Westside Alternative School in the USD 489 Hays School District, where she teaches grades 4-7.


"I teach Math, Science, Social Studies, Reading and Writing, and when I can, Art and P. E.," said Emerson. "My students come to our building because their emotional and behavioral needs have not allowed them to be successful in their regular home school settings. I couldn’t do my job without the help of my para-educators and the High Plains Mental Health staff that are also an integral part of my room and building."


Emerson said it will be her 13th year at Westside.


"I truly enjoy working with this group of students and staff," she said. "They all teach me new things every day. It is so rewarding when students make successful transitions back to their home schools. The most difficult part of my job, though, is not always having access to the materials I need, such as science materials, library books, art supplies and a variety of P.E. equipment. "


In addition to classroom supplies and project funding, Emerson’s class will also receive a song-writing session with Jake Gill via personal visit or Zoom video.


Students will be able to select a topic of interest and together as a class, write a song that will be shared with their school and community.


Gill believes that song writing can help stimulate the creative dimensions of a child and provide a healthy emotional environment of expression.


"Song writing combines the therapeutic benefits of music with the creative release of bringing our thoughts to words," Gill said. "Today’s child is experiencing more stress and trauma on a daily basis, than in times before. To be able to express their thoughts and feelings in a healthy manner, is crucial to a thriving development."


Gill, a seven-year member of the Country Music Association founded the CMTCI after a series of life changing events in the early spring of 2020.


It is his hope that teachers and classrooms all over the world can benefit from this program. To support Emerson and her classroom please visit her wish list: https://amzn.to/2EvDVr0.


Anything purchased will ship directly to her.


To nominate a teacher to be a recipient of the CMTCI, please visit the website: http://jakegill.net/ or the Facebook group.