‘I love making their day a little bit better’

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Kayla Bond, cafeteria manager at Ward Traditional Academy, offers more than nutritious food. She’s a ray of sunshine for students, who relish her origami-making skills (below) during lunchtime.

Kayla Bond goes above and beyond in her role as a cafeteria manager.

Since the start of the school year, Bond has been serving as the café manager at Ward Traditional Academy, a job which includes setting up and serving meals plus maintaining a sanitary and safe program.

Yet, say school officials, she does much more.

Each day, students come through Bond’s lunch line, during which she looks for and finds opportunities to connect with children and hear snippets about their lives.

“It’s amazing to me how much kids have going on in their lives,” Bond says, “and I love being able to make a little part of their day better.”

After hearing from one of her students that she wasn’t looking forward to the weekend ahead, Bond made her a folded-paper finger game, sometimes referred to as a “paper fortune teller.”

Inside, Bond wrote positive things for the child to do and think about over the weekend. Reminders like “you are special,” “be a friend,” and “read a book” under the flaps of folded paper. After the child received it, Bond realized more students could benefit from them, too. “Not only are they getting a healthy meal; they’re also having their day brightened,” Bond said.

In addition to creating the special origami encouragement for students, Bond also gives out stickers and coloring books she purchases with her own money.

“Kayla is awesome,” said Ward Principal Dr. Taime Bengochea. “From the moment she introduced herself to me, I could see she was going to be amazing for our students…Kayla
has worked hard to ensure she knows every student’s name at Ward. She tries to have a personal connection with students so that they know where to go if they need something.

“Students love her and we are lucky to have her here.”

Concluded Bond: “If I can be one person that makes a difference in a child’s life, I’m happy.”

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