The leadership students at Hope Secondary School are gearing up to, once again, play a big role in the community as the holiday season approaches.
With frigid winds on the way, the students have been working on a warm clothing drive to gather blankets, coats and other gently used clothing items (especially socks) for the less fortunate in the community.
Boxes at the school have seen a steady stream of cold-weather items being donated for distribution to the less fortunate in the community.
“We have the box at the school this year and we’re getting a lot of material donated, not just by the students but by people who have heard about the drive and are dropping off material for us,” said Lenora Poulin, one of the two teachers who supervise the leadership program.
“We started the program on Nov. 8 and it’s amazing the amount of material we’ve already collected.”
The students are also raising funds that they intend to donate to Community Services, which will, in turn, provide gifts for teenagers in the community who might otherwise not receive any gifts at Christmas.
“It’s a project that the kids can really connect with and shows the kind of empathy they develop at a very young age,” Poulin said.
“I’d like to think the leadership program helps in that regard, but these are pretty special young people, so they may have naturally gotten to that place anyway.”
Funds are raised through a variety of initiatives, including the sale of popcorn at school basketball games and Eat Week, where students donated food items that they sold to the student body during lunch breaks. That initiative alone raised more than $400 for the gift program.
Another program is being held, this time to raise funds to buy gifts for the residents at the Thunderbird Project, who are featured in this issue of the Hope Standard, on pages 8 and 9.
It’s called the Soup and Bun Lunch and it takes place at the Grace Baptist Church on Nov. 26.
The students will serve a light lunch to parishioners (and anyone else who wants to drop in). The meal is provided by donation with all funds going to the purchase of gifts for Thunderbird Project clients.
The students will also be out at the Thunderbird Project on Dec. 14, where they will be serving a holiday dinner to the residents, followed by a visit from Santa where the gifts will be distributed.
Poulin said the leadership students will also be singing carols in the park on Dec. 12 and have a whole list of school-based activities at the high school, including pictures with Santa.
“The holidays can wonderful, but they are also a tough time for some people. Our students recognize that and the spirit and generosity they show is really what the holidays are all about,” she said.