HHS Hearts of Gold aims to raise money, stay safeDec 09, 2020 07:28PM ● By Jet Burnham
In 2019, HHS student government officers meet the children for whom they are raising money through their Hearts of Gold charity drive. (Photo courtesy of Michael Wilkey/HHS.)
By Jet Burnham | [email protected]
Hearts of Gold is the annual charity drive at Herriman High School that keeps students busy with school activities and community projects throughout the month of December. It was nearly cancelled due to concerns about health and safety.
The Jordan Board of Education discussed the matter at a meeting just weeks before the charity season was set to kick off. Superintendent Anthony Godfrey met earlier with high school SBO presidents and reported to the board that students were already brainstorming ways to run their charity drives in accordance with public safety measures. The board opted to trust the students and administrators instead of imposing their own strict parameters for each fundraising event.
“I don't think we need to tell them how to do their activity because they've been thinking about it a lot longer than we have,” board member Darrell Robinson said.
HHS students have reimagined the Hearts of Gold season to follow safety protocols while keeping the spirit of the beloved tradition. Principal Todd Quarnberg said student government officers are meeting the challenge with creativity and determination; for each one of their ideas that is turned down, they come back with another one.
“These kids are putting their heads to it, and I think we're going to see a lot of creative ways to start collecting money,” he said.
New ideas this year include a film festival and several virtual competitions. Many traditional Heart of Gold activities will be replaced with socially distanced versions. Some, such as the kick off and closing assemblies, have in-person and online contingencies to be able to follow whatever safety restrictions are in place at the time of the event.
Funds raised this year will go to Angel's Hands Foundation, which helps individuals living with rare and undiagnosed medical conditions. HHS students are accustomed to raising tens of thousands of dollars for their chosen charity every year; this year’s restrictions will make that same goal challenging.
“The thoughts of not being able to do that again for the kids who need the money is very difficult for these kids,” Quarnberg said. “I think they understand that odds are stacked against them to have the same type of response as they've had when they've been able to get out and be so aggressive. But these kids understand also that charities are going to be hurting without assistance from schools.”
Fundraising efforts will be even more dependent on community support this year.
“We appreciate all the support and generosity our community has always provided for our school and our charity efforts,” student government adviser Michael Wilkey said. “This year, we are needing help more than ever before since COVID has created greater needs for Angel's Hands Foundation children and fundraising efforts have been largely disrupted.”
For the first time, Hearts of Gold merchandise—sweaters, T-shirts and lanyards—will be available for purchase to community members. A sales link, and a Venmo link to donate directly to the Angel's Hands Foundation, is available on HerrimanHigh.org. Items donated for auction are also being accepted.
Community members and students are encouraged to follow HHS on Facebook and Instagram @herriman2021 to keep updated about opportunities to support the charity: virtual activities, changes to events and spirit nights at local restaurants where a portion of the purchases will be donated to the charity.