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Give it All You’ve Got

Clubs and teams at LHS give back to the community.

Zahra Khan, Victoria McCoy, and Daisy Smith

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As the temperatures continue to drop, people are not only getting in the holiday mood, but also in the giving mood.

Photo by Kaleigh McCarthy

Stocking Stuffer

   This is the second year the Lady Jays Soccer team is giving back to the community by filling stockings for children.

   “I reached out to the girls and asked if they would be interested in doing something for kids who may not have a Christmas,” head coach Tyler Nash said. “The girls were really excited about the opportunity. The past two years, the girls wanted to make a bigger impact so we decided to adopt individuals and fill stockings with things that kids would like for Christmas.”

   Last year, the Lady Jays helped 23 children ranging from the ages of 1 to 16. This year, they plan to not only meet but exceed last year’s goal. The team is hoping to boost up the seasonal spirit by helping their community.

   “I think it’s important to give back during the holiday season because it creates strength within the community and also spreads positivity,” senior Emma Cronin said. “It’s important to remember that not every child gets to wake up on Christmas morning to gifts under the tree and if you are in a position where you are able to give something, even if it’s small, that could make a huge difference in a family’s holiday season.”

   Giving back can help teach those who are involved valuable lessons.

   “It makes you understand that you can make a difference. It allows us to show the power of a strong community like the Lady Jays can make,” Nash said. “This carries over to our success not just on the field, but in life. I constantly tell the girls to put the team above their own needs to be successful. This highlights selflessness immensely and allows the girls to learn this lesson by helping someone in need.”

   For some, giving back doesn’t take much effort at all.

   “It is so easy to make even the slightest positive impact within your community, you just have to be willing to put the work in,” junior Alex Simmons said. “This is supposed to be a happy time of year, so we should all be working towards making as many people as possible have the happiest of holidays.”

The Key to Kindness

Photo by Jacob Jimenez

   On the first Friday of December, Key Club members piled into the Little Theater weighted down with gifts. The contents of the bags ranged from winter coats to toy trucks and a Barbie Dreamhouse. The holiday spirit was high as the club officers stacked the gifts into a huge pile up front.

   “Adopt-a-Family is a program through Hillcrest Hope that matches previously homeless families to organizations like Key Club,” club sponsor Erin Garvey said. “We get a list from each family member with ‘needs’ and ‘wants.’ Hillcrest offers them free housing. They have to go through the program which includes strict budgeting. They would not receive Christmas presents if we didn’t buy them.”

   The turnout for this project is tremendous. Club members fill every slot on the list by the time the gifts are ready to be turned in, right before Christmas.

   “Adopt-a-Family gives them what the families specifically want or need, instead of just giving them things they might not necessarily need,” Key Club member senior Jack Shultz said.

   After all the gifts are collected, Garvey will deliver them to Hillcrest. To keep the holiday spirit the gifts are given to the families unwrapped so they can wrap the gifts for their family members themselves.

   “It’s important to give back during the holiday season because there’s so much we are privileged for,” Shultz said.“This allows us to give back to those who need it.”

Feliz Navidad

   Winter is not the only time for giving back for Spanish Honor Society (SHS). For the fifth year in row, SHS is helping families through the Guadalupe Center. They will give essential items like coats, gloves and a toys for the children.

   “We have a contact with the sponsor over at the center,” sponsor Astrid Ruiz said. “I think we need to get involved with the community and help in the local areas to alleviate the burden families face during the holiday season.”

   With the Guadalupe Center, they are paired up with families and given a list of what each family member wants. As SHS grows, so does the number of family members they are paired up with.

   “The list we are provided usually has about four to six family members,” Ruiz said. “Once we get the list the officers usually will go out and buy the items. After they are purchased, I take them downtown to be delivered.”

   The club has worked hard this year to collect funds for this project. The Guadalupe Center puts a cap of $25 for each family member, so it is up to the club members to raise the money for the families. Fundraising allows more participation from club members since the officers are the ones who buy the gifts.

   “As a club we wanted to sponsor a family and do a fundraiser for them for Christmas since they are not financially stable right now,” club president senior Sarah Keenan said. “I see lots of things saying that you get a lot of happiness from giving to other people, when you are donating you don’t see the whole effect, but giving personal things to families is a lot more meaningful.”

   After collecting the toys, clothes, kitchenware and homegoods, the club is looking for more ways to be involved with the Guadalupe Center. One way Ruiz wants to help is to tutor the children at the center to help improve their English skills.

   “I think it is important to give back because our community has shaped us into who we are and helped put us in a place of privilege to be able to help others, we want to help give hand up to others,” junior Caroline Wright said. “Everyone should have a special holiday season, no matter what you celebrate. It’s really just a time for the community to come together.”

Raise Some Noise

Photo by Charlene Nguyen

   In June, the trumpet section got together and tossed ideas around on what they wanted to do this year to help out the community.

   Each section member was given a prompt in advance and told to come back with the prompt filled out. They spent 10 minutes of one of their sectionals adding to their original ideas.

   After their discussion, senior Daniel Jump picked raising money to buy toys for kids at Children’s Mercy Hospital.

   “Their parents have to pay medical bills year round and I think it would be easier if they had gifts that we got for them,” Jump said. “There won’t be the combined stress of paying bills and getting Christmas gifts.”

   After everything was organized, the trumpet section spread the word through social media. They started to raise the money in September, working at Pizza Ranch a couple of times.

   All of the tips and around 20 percent of the proceed went towards their cause, They raised $400 the first time and $550 when they went back in November.

   Later on in the year, senior Charlotte Hall had another opportunity for them to make money. They raked leaves at Hall’s house and the section members got paid $300 by her family.

   “It makes me happy knowing that we raised so much in a short amount of time,” freshman Kyler Williams said.

   When Christmas time rolls around, the trumpet section plans to go out and buy the toys together. If they can, they will deliver the toys to the kids themselves and dress up as Santa and his elves.

   “I am hoping that some of the kids will feel a little better when they get our gifts,” freshman Jeremiah Areguin said.

Morales agrees.

   “The biggest payoff for me was getting to spend time with the trumpet section. The trumpet section has always been the one place I can rely on and I love to help support them.”

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Give it All You’ve Got