It takes all kinds to bring a community closer to its schools.
That's why the Lawrence school district no longer recognizes only local businesses for creating programs to help kids.
This year the district honored a school employee, a civic organization and, of course, a business with its Lawrence Education Achievement Partners awards.
The awards go to people or groups that volunteer time and effort at one or several district schools. LEAP has more than 120 participating businesses or groups.
Becky Browning, secretary of student services at Free State High School; Lori Klepper, a human resources employee at University National Bank, and the Lawrence Breakfast Optimist Club all were recognized for their work with schools in Lawrence.
Browning was rewarded for her efforts in ensuring that Free State students receive Achievement Awards, which are honors given to students that aren't based primarily on academics or athletics.
Most of the work that goes into the awards - processing nominations, cross-checking qualifications, putting together the event to honor the students - is Browning's responsibility.
"I don't think anybody worries about it too much because I do," she said. "I worry because I don't want to leave anyone out."
Lori Klepper can't explain exactly how or why University National Bank started working with Langston Hughes School in 2001, but she can say for sure that the partnership has thrived.
"We just decided to hook up with them because they are relatively new, and it just worked out really good," she said.
Klepper and other bank employees help with the school's food drive, adopt a family around the holiday season and give fourth-graders dictionaries and sixth graders thesauruses.
And so on.
"In return, they will do things for us," Klepper said. "They will help us with our food drive, they provide artwork for the bank.
"It's just been a really good fit for us and for them."
The Lawrence Breakfast Optimists were the first civic organization to participate in LEAP, which was once focused mostly on getting businesses involved in schools.
That prompted other civic groups to join the LEAP program, according to Ernie Dyer, a member of the Lawrence Breakfast Optimists.
"It worked, so I think they went out and tried to get other civic groups and said, 'The Breakfast Optimists do it,'" he said.
What the Breakfast Optimists do ranges from reading to the youngsters at the school to providing gift certificates to the kids so they can buy books of their own.
The club's participation in LEAP started with East Heights School and moved on to New York School.