Students from Litchfield Middle School Collect Clothing and Money to Support Homeless Peers Through “Hope for the Homeless Drive”
Jacquelyn Heisler, a work & family teacher at Litchfield Middle School, wanted to give her students an opportunity to give back. Fellow Litchfield work & family teacher, Debbie Casanova, also offered this opportunity to her students. Heisler read a newspaper article on Project RISE and learned that last year, the number of students in the Akron school district officially labeled “homeless” jumped to 951.
That high number struck a cord with her and she shared that information with her students. Heisler explained: “I shared this with my students and we decided to design a drive that could help our fellow students through this difficult time in their lives." The students voted and the “Hope for the Homeless Drive” was born. Students collected clothing and financial donations from their fellow students and staff members.
They were able to collect more than $340 and at least 15 garbage bags full of clothing for Project RISE. Debra Manteghi, project RISE program manager, will use the extra funds to help students displaced from their homes get transportation to school. The clothing will be stored in the Project RISE clothing room at Trinity United Church of Christ. Students and families experiencing homelessness can access this room with a referral from Manteghi.
Heisler said she was happy with the success of the clothing and funding drive and is proud of her students. “The project allowed them to practice and develop character while helping their community and specifically, their peers," she said.
Tayla Millender, one of Heisler’s students, said, “I thought this would be a great opportunity to help other kids in Akron. I feel like we accomplished that goal.”
Above all, Heisler aimed to teach her students the importance of giving back and sharing with the community. Based on the excellent results of the project, it’s safe to say that the students did learn that valuable lesson.