With a list in hand and close to $2,000, and 12 scholars headed to Target to buy gifts for homeless teens.
Uplift Luna Middle School scholars decided for their community service project, they wanted to make an impact with a project “outside of the box”. The scholars had one of the most successful projects in the network, they decided to raise money and buy gifts for teens at Dallas Life.
“It makes me feel like a leader even if we are the same age I can still help out,” said Miles Morgan.
The project is a requirement as part of the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme. Joseph Brodsky, 8th grade social studies teacher, split his class of 30 into nine groups at the beginning of the semester and had them research topics that interested them.
“There’s more needs in the world then I thought there was,” said Jay’Breunna Williams.
Eber Laurel, Crystal Henry and Williams had decided they wanted to help the homeless community. The group began to research and devise their project proposal, as they reached out to Dallas Life foundation they found out that the need was finding gifts for teens at the homeless shelter.
“A lot of people forget about the teens,” said Henry, ” not everyone is as fortunate and sometimes helping others can help you.”
The group was told typically the needs are met for adults or kids during the holidays but gift donations for teenagers are slim to none.
The class heard the proposals and voted on which project would be the most successful. Laurel, Henry and Williams’ project was decided on and the class began to devise a plan.
The 8th grade scholars decided to raise funds by hosting a spirit week. Scholars paid to participate and the community service class was able to raise $1,860.91; more than enough to get gifts and more.
“We made a list of things we might like to get and of their needs,” said Laurel.
The scholars also got a list from Dallas Life on things their teens may enjoy. A group of scholars and parents headed to Target on Saturday, December 5 where they filled four carts with food, clothes and gifts. Although the group was able to cross everything off their list, they still had money left over.
“The remainder will be donated to Dallas Life,” said Brodsky.
The group left Target with their items and took the unwrapped gifts to Dallas Life where they would be processed and given to the teens at their Christmas Party.
Many of the scholars admitted they would have liked to meet the teens and seen their reaction.
“Through the process we realized their economic status is different than us but maybe this will make them forget the negative and see some positive in their life, ” said Fabian Valerio.
Not just a project
One group decided that they still wanted to complete their group’s original plan. Dulce Garza, Manuela Leon and Paulina Aguilar thought it was important not only to help homeless teens but also people with disabilities.
The group originally wanted to volunteer at a hospital but found it was not an option so the scholars contacted their primary school, Uplift Luna Primary. The social counselor at Uplift Luna Primary helped the group find a classroom where they could help and for about three weeks they have been reading to scholars with special needs.
“We wanted them to not feel left out,” said Aguilar.
The group raised funds by selling Frito pies to purchase gifts for their students at primary. The group will be delivering it to them later this week.
Scholars found the projects have not only helped them to start thinking about their individual 10th grade community project but understanding their community and being aware of struggles others face has humbled many.
“People should be encouraged to do more,” said Valerio, “small things can go a long way and bring joy to a lot of kids.”