STAND members take on community projects


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Smiling at the camera, freshman Gracie Hendrickson poses with a “fresh start” backpack.

In spite of the unforeseen circumstances with the COVID-19 pandemic, NHS club and county wide youth development program, STAND has viewed the situation as an opportunity. While maintaining social distancing requirements STAND plans to help out the community “in some really fun ways” according to Coalition Coordinator Benjamin Meier.
STAND includes members from every high school in Harvey County and Peabody as well. Their plans include helping to recognize seniors, helping eighth graders prepare for high school, sewing surgical caps for Newton Medical Center, providing notes of encouragement and appreciation to community members and essential workers, and even more plans that are currently in the works.
“The COVID-19 pandemic can really make you feel like you are helpless, but we know we aren’t,” Meier said. “There are always things that you can do for others. So, STAND leaders from all over the county came together via Zoom to identify community needs and issues and to brainstorm how we can fill those needs during this time.”
One of the needs that was identified as the group reached out to the hospital was the shortage of surgical caps. STAND youth and adults from three different Harvey County towns have been able to sew these surgical caps in their own homes. The group purchased all of the fabric and materials locally to help local businesses. STAND is currently working towards their goal of donating 50 caps to Newton Medical Center.
“The STAND Board decided early on that the circumstances that we are all in have created wonderful opportunities to do some positive good in the community,” Meier said. “Through all of these challenges, we love our communities and are honored to be in a place to continue to make an impact during this time.”
Freshman Gracie Hendrickson created and completed a project of putting together “fresh start” backpacks full of essentials that were given out to recovering addicts throughout the community to help them on their journey. Hendrickson’s mom and brother helped her with this project.
“My oldest brother had actually started this project in Missouri for the homeless and I wanted to bring it to Kansas, but for recovering addicts,” Hendrickson said. “Many people gave donations for the bags and we also collected some of the items ourselves.”
Junior Eli Redington, is currently working with STAND members of surrounding towns such as Halsted and Burrton to best plan a senior recognition. One form of senior recognition that is being incorporated so far is via Instagram. Starting with the recognition of seniors on the STAND Board and then encouraging people to spread the recognition to their own pages.
“One thing I am planning for Newton is a social media campaign for recognizing seniors and we meet often to discuss more plans and brainstorm ideas,” Redington said. “It’s safe to say we are all bored of zoom right now.”
Along with senior recognition, Redington also participates in writing positive messages or notes to brighten someone’s day. These notes are then attached to surgical caps, surgical masks and coffee cup sleeves and donated. Like many STAND members, Redington is a part of every offered activity and is trying his best to do his part during this time of confusion.
“We had a number of things planned for throughout the fourth quarter but as you can imagine most of these were cut short,” Redington said. “We started by thinking about what the community needs to support them in the difficult time COVID-19 is putting everyone through.”