Hands reach out to give, not take
Students develop real-world projects that help others. "And what you put into it, you get back," one finds.
By PAULETTE LASH RITCHIE, Times Correspondent
Published January 10, 2008
SPRING HILL -- One student collected new shoes for people in developing countries. Another cleaned up litter. A third planted trees.
Under the guidance of social studies teacher Ann LaPlant, Gulf Coast Academy seventh-graders have been busy since September looking for ways to support their community.
The students have been enthusiastic and imaginative about the projects and seemed to understand the reasons behind the assignment.
"I think that helping others is important, because everybody needs help sometimes," said Miranda Brozik, 13. "And if you want help from somebody, you need to help somebody. It's kind of like karma."
Miranda held a carwash to raise money for drawstring bags, which she filled with hygiene products and distributed to Jericho Road Ministries Homeless Shelter.
"I think it's a great opportunity to help people in your community and people around the country," said Noah DeWitt, 12. "And what you put into it, you get back."
Noah received trees from Hernando County Parks and Recreation and helped plant them at the Suncoast Trail. He helped keep them watered and hopes they will provide runners with a cool place to rest and shade to keep cars from becoming too hot.
Jesse Lamonaco, 12, defined what he thinks of the assignment. "I think it means to join our community and help one another. When people help one another, they help back."
Jesse prepared emergency packages for victims of domestic violence at the Dawn Center. He collects packs of toys for the children of the abuse victims. He received help from several businesses including Joni Industries Inc., Chik-fil-A and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His mother held a food sale at Spring Hill Regional Hospital and collected about $700. "There was this one guy who paid $100 for one burrito," Jesse said.
Eric Dalebout, 12, focused on Haiti with his project. Eric has chickens and he advertised at his school that he had fresh eggs for sale. "I'll donate the money to the Haiti fund we have at our church (St. Francis Cabrini Catholic Church)," he said.
Other student projects:
- Luke Linahan, tutored fellow students after school.
- Nick McKinley helped educate children at his church by visiting Sunday school classes for five weeks.
- Tiffany Myers held a yard sale to benefit the Invisible Children Foundation, which helps victims of warfare in Uganda.
- Alicia Nasert had a bake sale for the benefit of her Kingdom Hall.
- Jacob Rice sold homemade bookmarks to help All Children's Hospital.
- Rachael Salvato made cupcakes for the residents of the Forest Oaks Independent, Assisted and Special Care Living Facilities.
- Brandon Vovan sold baskets from the Rwanda Partners to help people in Rwanda.
- Chelsea Toland recorded the book Sally's Doll by Ida Robinson for the blind.
- Zach Scott did weeding to earn food, which was donated to St. Vincent de Paul through St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church for the needy.
- Nicholas Avarello performed puppet shows to raise money for Catholic Charities.
- Jonica Herzek collected new shoes for overseas orphans.
- Cassidy Fenderraised money by making and selling macrame bracelets and had a bake sale to purchase personal items for female teens to be distributed through the New Beginnings Shelter.
- Kyle Foster collected clothes for the homeless.
- Anthony Brozik collected donations for the Fisher House (Tampa), which benefits and houses injured military.
- Tyler Burke built boxes for bats, which eat mosquitoes.
- Tasha Camacho volunteered at Nature Coast Botanical Gardens.
- Matthew Campbell collected donations to purchase a bicycle for the Hernando Sheriff's Office's Christmas Toy Drive.
- Lexi Gagnon cleaned up litter along the Weeki Wachee trails.
- Jordan Cleinman had a book drive for Sunshine of Pasco.
- Emily Babler collected donations and had a bake sale to benefit the Holy Ground homeless shelter.
- Emily Myers donated her time to coach younger soccer players.
- Tyler Bartenope collected blankets and pet supplies for SPCA.
- Maria Anzalone did pet and baby sitting to benefit the Humane Society of Hernando County.
- Michael Radike participated in a river cleanup project.
- Joey Columbo held a canned food drive for the Suncoast Harvest Food Bank.
- Rebecca Alteri had a bake sale for the SPCA of Hernando County.
- R.J. McMinn raffled a Beanie Baby collection to benefit the SPCA.
- Caitlyn Salyer helped prepare Thanksgiving baskets at her church.
- Alexander Gross baked dog treats to purchase pet supplies.
- Jake Gregory made angel necklaces to sell to benefit the Veterans Action Project.
- Jared Shellabarger sent packages to soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq.
- Mycah Dalgarn prepared packages for a soldier in Afghanistan.
- Mark Kraus collected donations to purchase turkeys for holiday dinners for those in need.
- Danielle Pospisil collected new and used clothing for people at Holy Ground homeless shelter.
- Lauren Washam collected donations for the Humane Society of Hernando to offset the expenses of caring for the animals.
- Cody Coudray made and distributed "Sugar Pillows" to the pediatric patients at Mease Countryside Hospital in Clearwater.
- James Podley held a book drive for the Homosassa Library.
- Tyler Pierson had a dog wash to benefit the Coalition for Animal Welfare.