At Friends, students are taught to abide by the Quaker Spices: Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, and Stewardship. Recently at Friends, there have been many completely student-run initiatives to do just that. Courtney Thomson ’20 with Kind to Kids Club, Annabel Teague ’20, Bella Stuccio ’19, and Manon Magnan de Bellevue ’21 with Half the Sky have worked hard to put forward opportunities for Friends students to contribute to local causes and help their community.
Thomson and the Kind to Kids Club sold candy grams to raise money for A Better Chance For Our Children. Thomson explained that this organization’s goal is “to raise money for children in foster care system. A Better Chance for Our Children works specifically with children who are victims of physical, sexual, and verbal abuse. All of the kids are past the ‘prime’ age for adoption, which means they’re around middle school age.” Olivia Brick ’20 noted that A Better Chance for our children also, “provides family counseling focused on foster care and adoption, specialized groups for adopted children, respite for adoptive families, specialized parenting education classes and support groups, ongoing support for families touched by adoption, and resources family preparation training groups.” Thomson stated that, “In Kind to Kids, our goal is to raise as much money as possible to try and alleviate any type of extra misfortune these kids may face in their lives, and to aid in the adoption process.” When asked what inspired her to work with this organization specifically, Thomson explained that it was “because I know families who have adopted through this organization, it’s a local effort (meaning it’s only based in Delaware), and because they are trying to help children who need our help the most.” Kind to kids Club will continue to help people by organizing more fundraisers later in the year.
Teague set up a collection for children’s winter clothes for Read In Read Out which is run by the Delaware Center for Justice. Teague explained that she was “inspired to work with Read In Read Out because issues like poverty and the prison system have always been interesting to me” she also noted that “Read In Read Out stuck out to me because it focused on literacy alongside the issues I just mentioned, which I found unique. I also think it is just a really cool idea to let kids whose parents are in jail hear them reading a book to them, which I think so many of us with a parent at home take for granted.” The coats collected will be given to the children at an event and Teague said she will “continue to work with the Delaware Center for Justice.” Though the collection ended up being a success, Teague noted that “At first, the donations were really really lacking, which was frustrating because I knew that so many more people had the ability to help.” In order to encourage people to participate in the drive, she “sent out a message the Thursday before my drive was over, encouraging people to donate and highlight our spices of integrity and community. After that, I was able to extend it for another week and I got a lot of donations which I am very grateful for.” Teague inspired the Friends community to step up and donate to a worthy cause.
Stuccio, Magnan and the rest of Half the Sky sponsored a feminine hygiene products drive women living in homeless shelters in Wilmington. The drive happened around Halloween and was called “Menstrual Monsters; Taking the ‘Boo’ Out of Blood.” When asked what inspired her to do this, Stuccio replied, “I was inspired to hold a tampon drive by Cecilia (Ergueta ’19) actually, because it was her idea.” Stuccio further explained that, “after talking to her about it last year I found a ton of resources created by people who had done similar drives in the past, specifically the video from Bustle that was included in the message sent to the school.” The video mentioned by Stuccio talks about the difficulties homeless women face every month and the lengths they have to go to stay clean. Often, buying a box of feminine hygiene products means not getting enough to eat. Stuccio also commented that “Half the Sky hasn’t done anything like this in our club’s past, but we are hoping to make this an annual thing!”
Be sure to keep an eye out for any other fundraisers and drives. Whether it’s by planning and organizing or donating, anyone can make a meaningful contribution to those who need help outside of the Friends community.