Almost $3,000 found its way to some local nonprofits, thanks to the “maturity and compassion” of student volunteers at Faribault High School.
The two classes, taught by Amelia Knudson-Griffith, are meant to encourage and empower students to be leaders and help their community.
“They generally talk about culture and things that they can change,” Knudson-Griffith said. “Things that they can do better. So, they learned about different leadership styles and volunteer work.”
Throughout the semester, the students are taught about how nonprofits work. They are required to do four hours of community service at a local charity. They go on field trips to various charities around Faribault, like Furball Farm Pet Sanctuary, River Bend Nature Center and Feed My Starving Children.
“A lot of them don’t know about volunteer work,” Knudson-Griffith said. “They definitely don’t understand nonprofits and how they work. That was a big goal. ... Hopefully, after they finish all their volunteer hours with me, they’ll continue to do that. I’m hoping they find enjoyment (in) giving back.”
Aubrey Filan, a student in the leadership class for juniors and seniors, said the class, which concluded Friday, made her a “better leader all around.”
“There’s a lot of different opportunities out there,” she said. “You just need to look for them; you just have to reach out to them. Everybody needs a volunteer.”
For their final project, the upperclassmen in leadership 2 split into groups and pick a charity and brainstorm fundraiser ideas. For this part of the class, the students largely take the reins as they plan and promote their fundraisers.
This semester, they organized a bake sale, a bingo night and a glow-in-the-dark dodgeball tournament.
In total, they raised almost $3,000 for Ruth’s House of Hope and Infants Remembered in Silence.
Susan Stout, outreach coordinator of the Ruth’s House of Hope shelter, expressed her gratitude for the donation.
We are honored that the students would trust us to use their dollars to help those in need,” she said. “It is incredibly gratifying to see students working to help others. They are demonstrating support for the larger community and, in particular, those who are less fortunate than themselves. This shows a high level of maturity and compassion.”
For most of the students in the leadership 2 class, it was their first time doing this big of a community-service project.
Freshmen and sophomores in leadership 1 mostly do service work within the school. For example, they put together gift bags for the staff at FHS.
“We do small things around the school and focus more on finding yourself versus giving back in leadership 1,” Knudson-Griffith said. “In other words, finding your role is within the school, how you can give back to the staff, how to be a leader in the classroom.”
While leadership 1 students do some volunteer work as well, they just don’t do the big event that the older group does. The goal for the younger group, Knudson-Griffith said, is “to realize that, as a leader within the classes, that they can make a difference.”
But Lexie Burger, a student in leadership 1, said they didn’t have to go at it alone.
“People in the community were willing to help out, like the Faribault Youth Bank,” she said. “Local businesses and restaurants donated gift cards for a raffle.”