Herriman students help collect over 1,000 winter coat donationsDec 08, 2020 03:45PM ● By Jet Burnham
By Jet Burnham | [email protected]
Herriman High students love to make a difference in their community. Some HHS clubs executed student-driven community service projects during the month of November.
“You give high school kids a ball, and they take it and run,” Principal Todd Quarnberg said.
What began as a project to collect 150 coats, turned into a massive coat drive driven by the members of HHS’s business-focused FBLA and DECA clubs.
“The original project was to give it 150 coats to the community, but we realized there was a bigger problem at hand,” senior Matheson Hovi said. When students discovered there were more than 800 homeless children in Jordan School District—some in their own school—they decided to broaden their scope.
They shared their idea with their teacher Rickee Stewart, not realizing that Stewart herself had started a simple coat collection three years ago that culminated in more than 1,200 donations from around the world. Then a teacher at Copper Hills High School, Stewart added coats for homeless children to her wedding registry. The media caught hold of the story and she was featured on the “Rachael Ray Show,” “NBC Nightly News,” “People Magazine” and the New York Times.
The students’ project has been very successful, too, collecting well over 1,000 coats in just a few months.
Students began by hitting local yard sales to request donations.
“The majority of people were so willing to donate; I think that was probably one of the coolest parts,” FBLA president Savannah Linton said.
To expand their reach, students applied the business skills they’d learned in class to reach out to local businesses to form a partnership.
Scheels Marketing Director Kami Packard said students contacted her with a promotion idea.
“They seemed very passionate about it, and I appreciated that,” Packard said.
Students developed a promotion with Scheels which ran Oct. 16 to Nov. 16: Bring in a coat to Scheels and get $25 gift card. Use the gift card to buy a coat to donate back to the school and Scheels will donate a second coat to the drive. Students designed all the posters and promotional materials. Matheson said skills they’d learned in marketing classes—such as color scheme and design composition—helped them to design professional, eye-catching posters.
“We're doing a lot of real-time, real-world stuff,” senior Amelia Clark said. She said it was great to see their idea come together into a real-world success, unlike marketing plans they develop for class assignments or competitions.
“I just love that they just took the initiative and just have made it theirs—they've owned it,” Packard said. “I think it's really cool to see kids who are in high school owning what they want to do. These are people we want to hire after they graduate—or now, if they can—strong, driven people who know how to make things happen.”
Students said the experience gave them an opportunity to make a difference in their community.
“I felt a lot better about myself,” Hovi said. “I've never really been part of a project of this scope, and it just feels great.”
“You can see the passion they have for this,” said Alec Grothe, assistant store leader at Scheels. “I don't know if a lot of kids nowadays have passion for giving back to their community. It's good to see them successful.”
Another service project HHS students were involved in was sponsored by the FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) club. As part of a statewide club project, club members collected arts and craft items to make kits for children at Ronald McDonald House.
FACS teacher Kristi Johnson said it was a student-driven project.
“They came up with all the ideas, they collected the supplies, and then they put it together,” she said.
They were thrilled with the amount of donations which came from members, their peers and community members. Even HHS preschool students picked out coloring books to donate.
“It's exciting to see them get excited,” Johnson said.
Generous donations meant club members could compile a lot of arts and crafting kids with coloring books, Play-Doh, beading, friendship bracelets and origami to meet a range of interests and ages.
“I just think it's so awesome to know that we’re helping other people,” sophomore Katie Shields said.