Paige Gryski Opinions_Editor December 6, 2016
For some, it is love for blood. For others, it is fondness for fashion shows or affection for mulch. No matter which passion is fueling them, the students of Atholton are striving to change the world.
Members of UNICEF, Key Club, Becca’s Closet, and other charitable clubs at Atholton are committed to finding new ways to promote a good cause. Several of these charitable clubs are growing, adding to the success of both recruitment and fundraisers.
Red Cross Club
The Red Cross Club is a part of the national non-profit organization the American Red Cross. Thanks to the help of both student donors and volunteers, Atholton donates around 30 units of blood each year. The club also participates in Vaccinate a Village. Proceeds of this fundraiser go toward Measles and Rubella vaccinations around the world. After each person makes a donation, their name is written on a paper cutout of a girl, boy, house, or school. These paper cutouts are compiled to form a paper village, which spreads awareness of the need for Measles and Rubella vaccinations.
“By doing things like the blood drive and Vaccinate a Village, we’re helping people in need and saving lives,” said Maddie Kwon, President of the Red Cross Club. Every contribution from either a donor or volunteer at Atholton has the potential to save a life.
Key Club is also an extension of an international non-profit organization. The club’s mission is to make a direct impact through community service. Key Club supports a wide range of causes. Last year, the club assisted in Out of the Darkness Walk for suicide awareness and Light the Night Walk for cancer research.
“The cool thing about Key Club is we do an array of events,” said Vice President Amal Imtiaz. “We’ve done stuff with senior citizens, children, and animals. Everyone’s ideas really play into what we end up choosing.”
STEAM team was created by students who strive to certify Atholton as a green-ribbon school. Green-ribbon schools are honored for their commitment to promote environmental awareness. The club holds fundraisers which go toward materials to plant trees and plants, some which reside in the courtyard of Atholton.
“We have a great group of people. They come every Thursday to mulch and weed and do the things most people wouldn’t be willing to do every week,” said Jasmine Richman, President of STEAM Team. The club is always eager to have more students join them on their mission to make Atholton green.
Becca’s Closet is a national, non-profit organization whose mission is to give all girls the opportunity to attend homecoming and prom. Members of Becca’s Closet collect donated dresses and redistribute them to girls who cannot afford one.
“In the past years, we held a fashion show through Macy’s in which they provided dresses to us through customer donations,” said Co-President Kristen Noppinger. This fashion show helped promote the club and led to more dress donations. Brought to Atholton only two years ago, Becca’s Closet quickly became a club providing girls with not just dresses, but hope.
Stand Up to Cancer
Stand Up to Cancer raises money which goes toward collaborative cancer research programs. The non-profit organization acquired a chapter at Atholton only two years ago, but thousands of dollars have already been collected through student-run fundraisers and events.
“Stand Up to Cancer brings together a bunch of different groups in the school to work toward a common goal,” said Co-President Morgan Shapiro. “It’s a good way to get your ideas out and develop your leadership skills in a charitable environment.” The club organized multiple fundraisers for breast cancer awareness month in October and plans to raise money during other cancer awareness months throughout the school year.
UNICEF, United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, is a worldwide organization dedicated to providing healthcare to children in need and promoting human rights. The club participates in Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, a fundraiser in which students collect money in small boxes. UNICEF also organizes bake sales and participates in a tap project which helps provide clean water for those in third world countries.
“UNICEF is for children, and children are the future. We live in Howard County and have a lot of things other children don’t,” said President Sabrina Dineshkumar. “You just have to remember, ‘I was a kid once, I need these rights, I need these things too.’”
The emphasis on improving the community has increased throughout the past few years at Atholton with the introduction of new service clubs and the increased effort put into existing ones. The key to giving back to the world and standing up to its injustices? For the children of Atholton High School, it’s in their blood.