Students at Windemere Park recently came together to collect and donate items for homeless individuals in their community. The student council organized a school-wide competition to collect personal hygiene items for Homeless Angels, a street ministry whose mission is to “find, befriend, and build up those who are less fortunate.”
“One of the goals for our student council this year is to make a difference in not only our school community but also in the greater Lansing community,” said Keli Hammond, seventh-grade math teacher at Windemere Park.
During one meeting, scholars discussed the importance of serving their community and brainstormed the ways that could benefit both the school and the community, simultaneously. After discussing that they often see individuals on street corners asking for help, the students researched their options and reached out to offer their assistance to Homeless Angels.
“The organization has many different needs,” said Hammond. “Our scholars chose to help with personal care items and worked to create a fun way to get scholars in the school to also participate in this service project.”
The students held a competition to see which classrooms could collect the most items. They added an incentive by offering a prize to the top three classrooms, including a pizza party, jeans day, and cookies for the class. The student council voted to pay for the incentives from their own budget. Each weekday, classrooms collected a specific item, such as toothpaste, soap, or deodorant.
“Parents of some of the student council members volunteered to deliver the items to Homeless Angels,” said Hammond. “They said the organization was overwhelmed with gratitude and simply amazed at how much our small school was able to collect to help them in their mission of helping Lansing's homeless population.”
At the end of the first week, Windemere Park collected just over 1,000 items. To encourage more donations, the student council announced who was in the lead and that their new goal was to donate 2,000 items. In total, the school ended up collecting over 3,500 items!
“When you give back or do something for someone else, it creates a ripple. I believe in intentionally creating ripples that show compassion, gratitude, and respect for others so that it can spread and bring waves of hope. In a way, this is what our student council is working toward,” said Hammond. “They started a ripple with an idea and encouraged the whole student body to get involved to create waves of compassion and giving, which are now reaching and helping others outside of our school walls. My hope is that these scholars will learn from these experiences and will continue to create ripples that build even bigger waves even after they graduate from WPCA.”