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The City Journals

Corner Canyon students earning funds to help local refugees

Nov 29, 2016 04:53PM ● By Julie Slama

Corner Canyon High School student leaders will be doing odd jobs to help raise funds to benefit Refugee and Immigrant Center — Asian Association of Utah this holiday season. (Corner Canyon High School)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

This holiday season, while other teenagers may be hanging at the mall or wrapping gifts in glittery paper, Corner Canyon High School students can be found doing yardwork, hanging up lights, cleaning garages and finding other ways to raise money to give to the Refugee and Immigrant Center — Asian Association of Utah.

“All the class officers get together to decide who they want to benefit from our Chargers for Charity program,” said Jana White, who is the student body officer adviser along with McKay Ballstaedt. “We had two students who volunteer with refugees — sophomore Gray Jackson as well as senior Jack Jensen — who started a soccer program for them. They both saw the need and volunteered to help. We’re on the end of the valley so we don’t see these students as much as those in Granite do, but when our students learned about them, they wanted to help them since they’re part of our community.”

In addition to doing spare jobs in the neighborhoods surrounding the school, the officers are planning to hold several events.

New this year will be a 5K race as well as a children’s one-mile run. The race will begin at 9 a.m., Dec. 17 at Corner Canyon High School. Pre-registration can be completed at the school office before race day and the $15 fee will include a 5K race shirt. Day-of-race registration will be available, but shirts may not be available, White said.

“Every year, the students add something to make it bigger, get more people involved in supporting them,” she said.

The fundraising also includes restaurant spirit nights, where local establishments will give the school a percentage of the night’s proceeds. There will be opportunities for local businesses to sponsor a day and match proceeds raised from a particular school activity, such as a “buy-out assembly,” where students are planning to charge classmates $5 to attend a mentalist performance.

Other school events earmarked for the Refugee and Immigrant Center — Asian Association of Utah include a Mr. Charger pageant on Dec. 20, ping pong tournament, hot chocolate sales, teachers versus students dodgeball contest where people can make a donation to get a player back into the game once he or she is out, as well as the popular potato sales.

“‘Spuds for Studs’ started last year and it became a hit. One week, we offered a raw potato for $1 and students all got together and bought potatoes for one teacher. We had to use a wheelbarrow to deliver them all. He was overwhelmed, but it was fun,” White said.

Another week for an increased amount, students could purchase a baked potato to deliver to a friend or teacher. The third week, Mr. Potato Heads made from the potatoes were available at another price.

“It was a great idea and everyone gets a kick out of them. The potatoes are donated to help raise funds and students know that these proceeds are helping others so at the same time as they’re having fun, they’re giving money to those who are in need,” she said.

White said many of these refugees are learning how to adjust to the community and are in need of some funds.

“The more they are immersed into the community and culture, the more they’ll become part of it, but some of their needs are as simple as needing household supplies or goggles as they learn to swim. Or they may need to pay for English lessons or join Scouts and need a uniform. They also could encounter funeral costs and being new to a country, have no funds for that. The money we raise can help them with their needs,” she said.

White said the four areas students are focusing their efforts in helping the refugees are helping the Sunnyvale Neighborhood Center with counseling services, providing English teaching materials, helping with after-school enrichment programs and creating personal hygiene essentials kits. 

This is the fourth year of the school and of Charger for Charity. Last year, students raised $43,000 for Millie’s Princess Foundation for children fighting cancer. Previously, the Chargers for Charity events raised funds for Primary Children’s Medical Center and Head Start. 

“Our kids still help with Head Start. Twice a year about 100 students go help. They help with National Reading Day and read with children in small groups, and then, in the spring, they help run booths at their carnival and field day,” White said.

White said students are realizing the effect their contributions have to the community.

“When they see the totals they are earning for someone else, to help things get better for them, they are so proud of their efforts. Half of them are in tears. It’s one of their favorite things to do and they get the difference they can make. Leadership is service for someone else,” she said.