Middle-schoolers Lend Helping Hand for Holidays

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By Managing Editor Teri L. Hansen

McPherson Middle School YMCA Ambassadors are collecting food items and hygiene supplies for local families in need for the holidays. They will be collecting items through Dec. 18.

“YMCA Ambassadors is a leadership and teamwork program for sixth through eighth graders in our community. This program brings a selected group of 10 students chosen by the school counselor. Ambassadors is designed to take students who may not be involved in other activities, but teachers and staff see leadership qualities in them, and we help them understand their opportunities and push them to excel in their everyday lives,” Ameilea Alexander said. “We provide them with experiences in leadership, by having them work with youth at the local elementary schools, as well as participate in community service projects, we have weekly discussions about character traits, work together on team building by providing them with different weekly activities, offer volunteer during the summer at the Waterpark and job shadowing opportunities. The summer following this program, the students are offered an amazing week at the Camp Wood YMCA to further develop their leadership skills and community worth.”

Alexander is the group leader. She guides the students through their plans of action throughout the year. She organizes meetings between the students and local leaders and provides support the youth may need in their endeavors.

“Helping support the youth in our community, while at the same time helping families who might need a little pick me up this holiday season,” Alexander said. “Holidays can be a very stressful time of year especially when you are going to prepare a holiday meal and don’t not have items to make the meal, or you’re not sure where your next meal is going to come from. The middle school students that are in ambassador have put their heads together and came up with this plan and now they just need our (the community’s) support.”

Each year the students get to pick what they would like to do as a service project. This year the student’s goals are to collect 2,000 food items, 500 hygiene items and 20 Turkeys for local families that need a holiday helping hand.

“The food drive was picked by the students to do. They feel like this is a way that they may be able to help their fellow classmates out, (without being noticed),” Alexander explained. “They produced the idea themselves. They picked the dates. Set the goals and have started spreading information by word of mouth. Along with daily announcements at the middle school.”

For those wanting to donate, items can be taken to the following locations through Dec. 18:

McPherson YMCA, 220 N. Walnut St.

McPherson Middle School, 700 E. Elizabeth St.

Lincoln Elementary, 900 N. Ash St.

The Well, 101 N. Main St.

The Bookshelf/Hidden Closet, 206 N. Main St.

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