By Terry Rogers
Milford Central Academy’s Student Government Association (SGA) was asked to write down ideas for projects they wanted to complete over the year when school began in September. Advisors Judith Woods, Jessica Rash and Emily Coverdale provided the students with a list of completed projects by previous SGAs at the school and then allowed the students to brainstorm ideas.
“One of the projects they looked at was one I had seen another teacher do in Dover and really wanted to bring it to Milford,” Ms. Rash said. “I mentioned it to the students and some of them wrote it down to consider later in the year. When we discussed our winter projects, this came up again and we decided to do it.” Students collected hats, scarves and gloves, working with Ms. Holly Mckellop’s RTI class as part of Operation Warm Hearts.
Ms. Mckellop’s class learned to crochet in order to make scarves and hats to help the homeless. Some of the items were delivered to Code Purple shelters, others to the local veterans home and some to battered women’s shelters. The remainder were tied around light posts, fences and other areas throughout Milford for anyone who needed them to take.
“The students in student council have continually shown their giving and selfless nature,” Ms. Rash said. “They want to help our community and make it the best it can be. Sometimes, that means helping within the school and sometimes that means reaching farther out in Milford to those who can’t ask for help or don’t know who to ask.”
Students sorted the items based on sizes, sending anything child-sized to the Code Purple shelter that houses women and children or to the battered women’s shelter. They also picked out enough for the men and women at the veterans home, trying to distribute things evenly between them. All other items were hung throughout the downtown area.
“Ms. Mckellop, her four children, student council and myself went out on Monday, December 18 after our student council meeting to tie the scarves,” Ms. Rash said. “The students wanted to make this as big and widespread as possible. When we began discussing our winter endeavors, they decided to keep with tradition. Every year, they make holiday cards for various places like the veterans home. As we began collecting art supplies for the cards, they started to talk about people in need which brought up the idea of donating items. I shared what I had experienced last year with a mitten tree where items were donated and then hung on light poles outside of the Dover Public Library. After sharing my experience and reading the ideas from the beginning of the year, they voted to have their own mitten tree.” Ms. Rash said that although they never had a physical tree in the building to hang donations from, they still received a large number of donations including the handmade items from Operation Warm Hearts.
Another event the students participate in each year is a Secret Santa. One student suggested sponsoring a shelter instead of spending money on each other. Each student was asked to donate an item or $10, giving them the opportunity to start a new project and make an impact outside of the school. They teamed up with Ms. Sherrise Geeseman’s RTI, the Blanket Brigade, who make no-sew blankets. The team made enough blankets for every veteran in the veterans home which Ms. Woods delivered the week before Christmas.
“I think we were involved in more projects at one time this winter than in the past,” Ms. Rash said. “We made cards for the veterans home, a large card for Genesis and Home of the Brave, donated items to the battered women’s shelter, hung scarves around downtown, donated scarves, hats and gloves to the Code Purple shelters and wrote thank you letters to people in the military. Although winter break is upon us, some of my students asked if they could bring in more donations after the new year, so I am sure we will be continuing our relationship with the battered women’s shelter next year.”
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