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Posted on Wednesday, June 24, 2020

You probably know that TI volunteers work hard at Monroe Elementary School tutoring students, organizing special holiday programs, and celebrating teachers through our hospitality group. This year, we seized a chance to help in a new way as a third grade teacher started an afterschool basketball program. Coach Alexis Lane has built a group of 14 boys and girls, grades 3-6 into a basketball team. I had the pleasure of cheering them on at their first game, where they wore mismatched Monroe t-shirts and exhibited skills that could definitely use improvement. Nevertheless, about 30 teachers and parents cheered them on. The kids worked hard and exhibited good sportsmanship, and everyone loved being part of something bigger than themselves.

During this first year, Coach Lane had to beg teams to play the Monroe Dragons in scrimmages at the local community center, since they were not part of the district league, which requires teams to have uniforms. Thanks to TI, next year, the Monroe Dragons will be a part of the St. Louis Public School District league. On the Run brought to you by Wallis Companies generously donated funds to buy uniforms that were then designed and discounted by our members Helene Spetner and her son, Rob, of St. Louis T-Shirt Company.

Coach Lane recently sent us this beautiful note:
“Thank you (TI) so much. I cannot overstate the impact you all have had on both inspiring me that there are people who want to help accomplish things for kids, and also inspiring the kids to know there are people who believe in them! So, thank you all so much for your incredible contributions and support for Monroe Kids. Thankfully, we will join the official basketball league from the district next year and have games every week on a calendar handed to us at the beginning of the season. The uniforms will allow us to do that!”

Sadly, the coronavirus has halted practice and games for this season. But Coach Lane is committed to coming back stronger next year. She’s got the uniforms washed and ready to go. I can’t wait to cheer them on!

If you would like to get involved with our work at Monroe Elementary School, we’d love to have you. Please fill out the volunteer form on Temple Israel’s website at or email me at

Liz Buchman




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Congregation Temple Israel

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