Whiz Kids: Hart Middle School Students Get Crafty to Help Families in Need

Reprinted from Oakland Township Patch
Hart Middle School students work diligently to cut and tie blankets for the Baldwin Center, a safe haven in Pontiac.

Student Council and Rachel’s Challenge Chainlinks Club

School: Hart Middle School, Rochester Hills

Accomplishment: On Jan. 26, when many students were taking advantage of the first half-day of exam week to hit the area’s ski and sledding hills, 65 members of Hart Middle School’s Student Council and Rachel’s Challenge Chainlinks Club spent the afternoon making 33 fleece blankets to donate to the Baldwin Center, a safe haven in Pontiac. It was a unique event and a “festive collaboration,” according to Katie Allen, Chainlinks adviser.

Chainlinks is a student-led club inspired by the Rachel’s Challenge program, which empowers and motivates students to harness their natural passion and energy to bring about positive cultural change by starting “chain reactions of kindness and compassion.”

Key to awesomeness: After enjoying a donated lunch, students went to work spreading fleece material, scissors and templates over the media center floor.  An hour into the effort, it almost appeared to be an impossible task to finish the job that afternoon. But the students were not to be deterred. The sounds of teamwork seemed to echo throughout the media center. “There’s a blanket over here that’s ready to be tied!” “I need scissors over here.” “Anyone have an extra template?” “Hey, you tie while I cut.”

Soon, the colorful blankets were folded, stacked and ready to go to the grateful clients at the Baldwin Center. Allen said that when it was over, advisers for both student organizations remarked “how awesome it was to combine the two groups to work collaboratively” on this project.

The Baldwin Center’s website describes it as “a place where bellies are filled, where children can play and learn without fear, and where people can recover their dignity and find respect.”

The volunteers at the Baldwin Center most likely thought this project was “awesome,” too. Student Council adviser Julie Schmidt said that “when we called and asked if it would be OK if we made and donated blankets to them, they told us, ‘Oh my goodness, you have no idea what great timing this is – there is a tremendous need right now!’ ”

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