Driving Into the New Year With Acts of Kindness
By Klaudia Jablonska
With the season of giving upon us, the Northside community has been determined to help out the less fortunate. Within the last month, students may have noticed many signs around the school mentioning the different holiday drives that some of the organizations at Northside are putting on. Some of the most recent drives to occur are the Junior Leaders and Pay It Forward’s coat drive, the National English Honor Society’s annual holiday book drive, and the Junior Leaders’ shoe drive. There is no time like the present to be helping out those in need.
Every year the Junior Leaders class organizes a service learning project to help out those in need. These service learning projects are led by the students with little help from their teacher. The Junior Leaders typically choose an organization to donate to or a meaningful cause to take part in. This year the school was lucky enough to have two Junior Leader classes, resulting in double the service. Junior Leaders from both classes figured out a way to decide on the type of project they were interested in doing, distribute the work evenly among themselves, and gather any donations they could receive in order to help the less fortunate. In previous years, Junior Leaders classes have hosted a band aid drive or sports tournaments in order to raise money for a worthy cause.
This year, one of the Junior Leaders classes decided to join forces with the Pay It Forward colloquium as well as Latin Honor Society to organize a winter clothing drive that took place in November. The Pay It Forward colloquium was in charge of sorting all the clothing into outfits, which were then packed into gift bags to hand out to the homeless. These gift bags will be hand delivered by Pay It Forward and some Junior Leaders to some of the homeless people residing in different spots along Lake Shore Drive. Julia Carlson, Adv. 005, who is part of the Junior Leaders class, said “Altogether we have assembled 33 gift bags, each containing a winter jacket, complete outfit, as well as toiletries and other essentials. We are looking forward to brightening the homeless people’s day just in time for the holidays!”
The other Junior Leaders class decided to organize a shoe drive because some people may not have enough money to buy a warm or comfortable pairs of shoes, and this way people can make sure to be properly equipped for the upcoming winter months. The Junior Leaders came up with the idea of the shoe drive when many of them started taking out their winter boots for the snow and cold weather. Junior Leader Matthew Figueras, Adv. 006, said “At that moment, we realized that many people around the world do not have access to shoes and their lives are greatly affected by that. With that came the idea of the shoe drive. After all, the Junior Leaders want to make sure that everybody’s holiday season is amazing, even those less fortunate than us.” The Junior Leaders are hoping to collect all types of gently used shoes to donate to the Share Your Soles Foundation. Junior Leader Rachel Vu, Adv. 010, said “Since the holidays are coming up, we wanted to be able to give back to those in need. And even though there’s a lot of drives going on that may be collecting similar items, we’re not competing against each other, rather we are all just trying to help those in need.” The shoe drive is still happening now, so be sure to donate any gently used shoes by this Friday, Dec. 21. Donation boxes are located in the atria and near the main office.
The final holiday drive that is taking place is National English Honor Society’s annual book drive. National English Honor Society makes sure to organize a book drive every holiday season because they are determined to spread the joy of reading, especially to those who might not have easy access to books. Co-President Anna Zhu, Adv. 905, said “Every year in elementary school, my school would give every student a bag of books to keep and read at home. For an avid book reader (a bookworm), that was the best present I've ever received! Through the NEHS Book Drive, I hope we can grant children the same feelings of joy and excitement when they receive their books.” All members of the society helped in the creation of the boxes all around the school, which are mainly located in English classrooms, after a meeting. Students are able to donate until this Friday, Dec. 21. In the spirit of helping others, be sure to bring in any spare books you may have; all books will be donated to Open Books Chicago.