Education

Published on June 28th, 2018 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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School District Five students and local Scouts give back to Irmo community

IRMO – When Irmo High School sophomore Jack Ostergaard was looking into opportunities for an Eagle Scout project to complete this year, he knew he wanted to fulfill a need at his high school and enlisted administrators for suggestions. School leaders suggested the renovation of the Community Cares Closet at the school.

“Our social worker, Donna Carroll, is a lifeline for many students in our school. She works discreetly and tactfully to help students in need so that they can focus on learning,” said Dr. Kaaren Hampton, an assistant principal for instruction at the school. “As a school, we try to provide as many resources as possible to help her do her critical work. We knew that there was a need for her to have a space to collect and organize provisions. Jack was able to work with Mrs. Carroll to determine what would help her the most.”

Jack recruited fellow members of his Boys Scouts of America Troop 312 and a few close friends for the renovation project.

“My goal was to create something for my community that will help in some way,” Ostergaard said. “I wanted to choose something that I could think to myself, ‘Wow, I really made a difference.’ Irmo High School has given so much to me and this Eagle Scout project allowed me to show my appreciation for the impact the school has had on me as a person and student.”

Established in 2009, the Community Cares Closet is a space allocated for the storage of food, clothing, toiletries and school supplies. The items are used to support students and their families that may need temporary assistance or dealing with a crisis situation. Donations are collected by school organizations, faith-based organizations and worldwide volunteer organizations in the community.

With the help of local family and company donations and 300 hours of service hours by volunteers, the Community Cares Closet received new carpet, paint, two refrigerators for perishable items, a quiet study area, hanging racks and organizational shelving for clothing and supplies.

“They have turned the space into a friendly, warm environment and we are now able to maximize the use of the space,” Carroll said. “We can now assist more students and families. We know that students are less likely to perform at their potential if their basic needs are not met. Helping students meet some of their needs, will hopefully allow them to focus in the classroom and be successful academically.”

School District Five student Nathan Riegel said, “I hope recipients of the Community Cares Closet feel the bond of the Irmo family and know that they are cared and valued when they enter the room.”

 

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