The 38 members of the FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) club plan to put the fun in fundraising with festive family activities.
Their club’s community efforts are to benefit homeless people with a project they titled “Hands of Hope,” tackling a complex topic the students are also researching.
Club members have spoken with law enforcement officials and discovered that people who have become homeless are more frequently found in Chattanooga, than in rural areas like Walker County.
The reasons for homelessness and the effort to assist those in need of help are the focus of the curriculum-based portion of the project that the club has become emotionally invested in, which will be unveiled at a FCCLA competition in March.
The “STAR” project (Students Taking Action and Recognition) is the FCCLA’s annual program in which students choose a role from a variety of community service initiatives.
“With the money that we collect from this, we are creating bags and packing them full of supplies,” club member Amanda Reed said. Each one contains personal hygiene items and food that will be given to homeless people.
The trio of activities is designed for elementary-age (K-5) children from the LaFayette area. Club members distributed letters at Gilbert Elementary and North LaFayette Elementary detailing the $5 event donation per child.
Club sponsor and family and consumer science teacher Patrice Nix is proud of the multi-faceted project the students are focused on this year.
“This club opens all the doors for volunteering,” sophomore Lauren Collins said.
“It shows you how much needs to be done in your community,” Peyton Russell said.
Earlier in 2012 the club has held fundraising tailgate parties during football games and volunteering at festivals, including one that supports the Ronald McDonald House in Chattanooga.
The first event on Dec. 1 (from noon to 2 p.m.) will have youngsters creating Christmas crafts and writing letters to Santa while enjoying the cookies that FCCLA members have baked.
The concepts came from Pinterest, a popular visual wish list website that Reed admits has become a slight addiction.
She found a fun but simple craft project for kids to create winter landscapes by combining glue and shaving cream.
“We just tried it one day and had fun playing with it,” Reed said. “So if it amused us we figured it would amuse the kids.”
“(Club members) may not realize it but that is one of the early childhood curriculum elements,” Nix said.
The following weekend on Dec. 8 the children will create a gift for their parents from 3-5 p.m., followed by a hearty chicken dinner from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
The final gathering will be a movie night with “The Polar Express” starting at 3 p.m. and the all-time classic “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” playing at 6:30 p.m.
The club members will be serving popcorn and drinks to those attending the double feature, which is an extension of the monthly movie night that has been held in the school’s auditorium by FCCLA members since last year. The event provides fun and safe atmosphere locally featuring entertainment at a low cost, which regularly attracts 50-75 students.
The children who attend all three events in December will receive a “Hand of Hope” shirt for helping the club with their community project.
The exposure and awareness of serving the community has a few of the club members considering career paths in public heath.