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Pamela Robinson - Artist, Mark Cockroft (Boomerang Backpacks) - Everyday Star (A-20)




Pamela Robinson
Professional Artist

Mark Cockroft
Everyday Star

My Everyday Star is Mark Cockroft.  He has been a teacher for 26 years and is currently teaching with East Noble Schools.  While most people reacted to the financial crisis in 2008 by protecting their assets and looking inward, Mark saw a growing problem and chose to find a way to meet that need.  Noble County (as well as Stueben and Dekalb) was hit hard because of jobs lost in the RV industry.  Schools were seeing 50%-70% participation in free and reduced lunch programs.  Mark used skills he learned while starting a successful storage business to come with a solution.  He started "Boomerang Backpacks", a program that sends elementary school children home with nutritious foods that don't require adult preparation for consumption over the weekend. The program used high school students to help prepare the bags thus teaching the older kids that they can make a difference in their own communities. Growing up in rural Indiana I can appreciate the leadership that Mark took in starting up this program.  It was not something he waited for others to do.  He continues to pour a lot of himself into this program, using his free time to fund raise and to the administrative things that make Boomerang Backpacks work.

In my painting I wanted to depict the hands on the nature of what Mark started.  I chose to paint a young volunteer putting a backpack on one of the elementary students.  I hope by painting this, people will be more aware of what they can do for their communities and to feed those more vulnerable.