Tanglewood Elementary gets $10,000 to go toward relief efforts

CENTRAL, LA (LOCAL 33) (FOX 44) - Tanglewood Elementary School received a generous surprise Thursday. The school took up nearly four feet of water during last year's floods, and this afternoon, organizations came together to help with recovery efforts. 

Applause came from many excited students as their school, Tanglewood Elementary, received a check for $10,000. 

"I have two children, a nine and a four-year-old, and they're always asking me what I do. You know, we're here to help people, and whenever we're about to have that opportunity to engage with a community and help them get back on their feet. We want to do that. We want to participate," said Joseph Ochipinti, the CEO of UnitedHealthcare-Gulf States Region. 

The healthcare company along with Justin Vincent, a former LSU running back and NFL player, and the Dream Builders Foundation came together to present the check. 

"This is awesome, to be a part of Dream Builders and UnitedHealthcare, you know, to give back to these kids and seeing the smiles on their faces, especially when we bring the mascot out. It's a beautiful thing," said Vincent. 

The money will go toward new P.E. equipment and a garden equipped with Buddy Benches, which aim to take a stand against bullying. 

"If they feel conflict or if they feel a little threatened, they can go over. They can sit on the bench, and then,everyone in the school knows that if someone's sitting on the bench, they need help and need companionship," explained Ochipinti. "So, one of the children will sit on the bench and others will see, and they'll go over and they'll ask 'how are you?'"

"So, if you see a kid sitting there, you know, sit next to them. Ask them what's wrong. It helps kind of de-escalate the situation and help kids feel more comfortable about what's going on in their lives, not neccessarily at school, but maybe something at home. So, I think it's a great thing," concluded Vincent. 

These organizations have been working together since November 2016 to help local schools recover and promote healthy lifestyles. 

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