Litchfield students respond to helping homeless
|Litchfield Middle School student Tayla Millender and teachers Debbie Casanova and Jacquelyn Heisler are shown, from left, at the school with bagged clothing donations for Project RISE behind them.|
|Photo courtesy of Project RISE|
This semester, the school community collected clothing and money for their fellow students in need for Project RISE, a federally funded program through the Ohio Department of Education that assists students whose families are homeless.
The students were inspired to get involved in the effort after Jacquelyn Heisler, a Work and Family teacher at the school, read about increases in the past year in the number of homeless APS students.
“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,” she said.
Her fellow teacher Debbie Casanova also signed on to help. The sixth-grade students in the class decided to call their effort the “Hope for the Homeless Drive,” and they began collecting gently used clothing and money from Litchfield students and their family members, Heisler said.
By the end of the effort, they collected $340 and at least 15 large garbage bags full of clothes, according to Project RISE officials.
Debra Manteghi, Project RISE program manager, said the money would be put toward transportation to school for the program’s students. The clothing was to be kept at the Project RISE clothing room at Trinity United Church of Christ in Downtown Akron, where participant families are able to access the items with a referral.
Heisler said she hoped to teach her students the importance of giving back and sharing with the community, and she thinks the lesson got through.
“The project allowed them to practice and develop character while helping their community and, specifically, their peers,” she said.
One of her students, Tayla Millender, agreed.
“I thought this would be a great opportunity to help other kids in Akron,” she said. “I feel like we accomplished that goal.”
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