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GHS students initiate drive to aid homeless youth

This is the "Helping Home" that was displayed at Grandville High School. Students were able to take "hands" off of the home and donate the materials written on them.

Alexa Gutierrez

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Statistics say that every year there are nearly 2,000 homeless youth in the Grand Rapids area. Therefore, HQ, a newly opened drop-in center in Grand Rapids, is trying to aid in providing rest, resources, and readiness to those youth facing homelessness.

While HQ is aiding the youth, Krystal Owens and Lauren Rozenboom, seniors at Grandville High School, wanted to support HQ by conducting a materials drive at Grandville High School. These two students were so motivated to help HQ because they saw need in their community and wanted to do something about it.

The drive ran from February 18 through March 18. Nearly 3,100 materials were raised ranging from deodorant and shampoo to hand sanitizer, socks, and individual detergent packets. Mr. Kennedy’s class took first place with 1086 materials, Mrs. Carrick’s class took second with 269 materials, and Mrs. Beckett’s class took third with 75 materials. The winning class won the notable prize of a pizza party.

However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing from the get go. “We weren’t able to get the school on board very quickly, and it was hard to get people motivated to donate,” said Rozenboom. Yet despite the rough start, with the help of Mrs. Carrick and Mrs. Peterson, the donations quickly picked up. Both teachers helped by spreading the word throughout the school and sparking the enthusiasm and support that they needed.

“It was such a blessing to find a few individuals who were just as passionate about helping these teens as we were. These teachers and mentors in our area helped support our initiatives and worked to get other students involved,” said Owens.

In the end, the materials drive went better than expected, as Owens and Rozenboom were both pleasantly surprised with the results. “I am very thankful that I live in a community that pulls together to support one another. This project would not have been possible without the support of each and every person who donated and helped to raise awareness,” Owens said.

Even though the materials drive has ended at GHS, the two students are still working at spreading awareness in other areas of the community, while also promoting volunteer opportunities at HQ itself.

There are many ways that contributions can still be made to HQ. Donations can be made by purchasing hygiene materials, or items off of their Amazon Wish List, and even volunteering at the drop-in center. More information can be found regarding volunteer opportunities on HQ’s website.

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