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Draper Journal

American Preparatory Students Rock the Socks

Jan 26, 2016 09:02AM ● By Julie Slama

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Draper - For three consecutive years, American Preparatory Academy has supported the Road Home radio-a-thon weekend with a school-wide sock drive to benefit homeless and less fortunate families in Salt Lake County. 

Each of the school’s five area campuses participated, bringing in 16,405 pairs of socks, for a two-week period. The two Draper campuses lead the donation drive with more than 7,100 pairs of socks — more than the goal set at 6,000 for all the campuses.

“It got started with finding a need and filling that need,” Catherine Findlay, American Preparatory School executive director of character development, said. “We teach our students to fill a need to make a difference in the community to make the world better.”

The Road Home assists individuals and families experiencing homelessness in Salt Lake County and along the Wasatch Front. The Road Home also provides emergency services such as basic personal items, including hygiene kits, and clothing as well as emergency shelter.

The Road Home’s mission also extends to help people step out of homelessness and back into the community so they provide transition from the shelter back into housing, as well as connects people with community programs and resources they may need.

Each campus set goals in numbers of pairs of socks they hoped to contribute to The Road Home. The Draper 1 campus exceed its goal by 1,800 with 3,050 pairs while Draper 2 donated 4,061 pairs, more than their goal of 1,500 pairs. 

Character development director Lindsey LaJeunessee said that the generosity of the students and their families was amazing. 

“Walking through the halls of cute kids bringing in one more pair of socks to help out others was amazing,” she said. “The Road Home let us know that they needed diapers on the last Friday of the drive and by Monday, we had three big boxes full of diapers. We also had a huge box full of warm winter hats we donated that we didn’t even ask families to bring in.”

As the students donated socks, towers were created with the contributions and then they were combined with other campus donations, Findlay said.

“They could then see that when everyone does a little, it combines to create a lot of good for our community,” she said.

After students brought in donations, student council members and 10th graders, who were learning how a donation drive works, sorted them. Students then delivered the socks, diapers, hats and about 140 donated blankets in late December.

School ambassador council director Kiri Reeves said after delivering the donations, many student ambassadors also volunteered with the radio-a-thon.

“The students did a great job of representing our school and sharing our desire to give back to the communities we call home,” Reeves said. “It was a wonderful experience and we are so grateful for the amazing response of our American Preparatory students and families. The socks they donated will help many of those in need in our community.”

Findlay said that in the past, many students have helped deliver items, but since they had so many students participate, they instead videotaped the students who delivered the donations to the Road Home and then, showed it at an assembly. 

“This way, we brought The Road Home to our kids so we could show them who they helped, what their service project did for these people and they could feel part of it. Each year, we’ve increased our collection to help more and more people,” Findlay said.

As part of another outreach, neighbors in the Suncrest community in Draper approached American Preparatory in December with donations for 28 students and their refugee families who attend the West Valley campus. The Suncrest community neighborhood donations, coordinated by Roger Kraft and Shawna O’Grady, ranged from washers and driers and vacuums to toys and clothing as well as food.

Findlay said their donations began with one Draper American Preparatory family who lives in the area and wanted to help others better understand refugees’ lives and got the neighbors involved. The neighborhood also has donated beds for families in the past and held a shoe drive to benefit more than 100 children.