New Family and Community Services Course Launches School Supply Drive

By Dia Jain and Keya Sampat

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  • Students discuss how to efficiently distribute supply bags to teachers.

    Photo By Dia Jain

  • Students walk towards the portables to hand out their supply bags.

    Photo By Keya Sampat

  • A student hands a supply bag to a teacher.

    Photo By Keya Sampat

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Westwood has started a new course called Family and Community Services under the Human Services pathway. This course is a full year of planning and participating in various projects over community service and service learning. The students’ first project is a school supply drive to start off a care closet. The care closet will contain supplies that in-need students and families in the Westwood community can easily reach. Their goal is to make the care closet accessible and for it to continue for years to come.

This was the first year that students had reached the last course of the Human Services pathway within the Public Service Academy. Ms. Melissa Talley’s certification is in Family and Consumer Service, which resulted in her teaching this course.

“It feels good to be able to help others at this school. I chose to take this course to do more community work and be able to help people who need it, ” Ayesha Khan ‘20 said.

The students and Ms. Talley decided upon the care closet for many different reasons. Some students were inspired by someone in their life, and all want to give back to their community. They believe that this drive is unique, as many have not acted on this issue.

“My mom does a lot of community service, which inspired me,” Katie Gorelik ‘19 said. “We started this drive because when you see kids and you know they can’t afford to get their supplies, it’s really hard. So being able to come here and get what they need is really cool.”

The care closet is an easy way for students and teachers to give back to their own community. Ms. Talley and her students want this care closet to be something that everyone is well aware of, so that it can continue in the future without any need for further advertising.

“One of our main goals for the whole year is to really get this care closet going. We plan to do multiple drives over the years so that more people become aware of it. In the future, we don’t have to have actual drives as hopefully people will naturally donate,” Ms. Talley said.

Many people have clothes or items that they don’t need or use, and it is easy to drop these off in the care closet and make a significant difference in someone else’s life. This will make it much easier for students, parents, and teachers who cannot afford supplies to get what they need.

“It feels good being able to give back to other people at this school and help others,” Gorelik said. “When you see kids and you know they can’t afford to get their supplies, it’s really hard. Being able to come here and get what they need is really cool.”

This Family and Community Services project has already drawn participation from members of the Westwood community.

“We have already had a couple teachers ask if we have a couple items and others offering to donate various things,” Ms. Talley said. “Hopefully, over the years people will get a good idea of us having a care closet and try to utilize it as much as they can.”

This care closet is a way for our school to give back to our community and help the people around us. Ms. Talley and her students hope to get their feet in the door with the drive and expand this closet as years go by.

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