NORTH OGDEN -- Once sixth-graders from Bates, Midland and Riverdale elementary schools toured the Your Community Connection facilities in early April, the students knew they could do something to make a difference.
Since then, approximately 300 students have been bringing in cans of food, clothing and cash to donate to the center. Jeanne Hall, who has a grandchild in each of the three elementary schools, is a member of the YCC board. She said she has tried to teach her grandchildren to look outside themselves. She also said she talked with teachers at each school about the idea of a donation drive and they jumped on board without hesitation.
"All of the credit goes to them. They have been wonderful," Hall said.
Students in Kris Barker's sixth-grade class at Bates Elementary were eager to talk about the donations and their field trip to Ogden's YCC. Jack Mecham had already read in the Standard-Examiner about donations being down at the center.
"I knew I really needed to help them," he said.
Barker said the students toured the entire facility and even looked at one of the vacant apartments in the ladies and family living quarters. They also toured the thrift shop to get an idea of items they could donate.
Barker said many of her students were immediately aware of the needs. Students talked about the cramped living quarters and some of the difficulties the children living there faced.
"It's sad how some of them (the moms) got beat up and the kids saw that. I thought, 'Huh, I really need to help,'" said student Elizabeth Evans.
Students were also told that an anonymous donor would triple the dollar amount they donated. That has been a huge incentive for them, Barker said. They see that generosity and it makes them want to give more.
Riverdale sixth-grade teacher Ashley Remkes said the entire school is on board with the donation drive. Some classes have run a snack shack after school to raise funds fore YCC, while another class has been in charge of gathering and sorting donations. Remkes' class has been in charge of "Dash for Donations," where donations are collected during lunch.
Students have also been educating others in their schools about why they are raising funds and donations. And Remkes has been teaching her students in health about the various forms of abuse and how it can affect everyone. She said:
"Because of the field trip to the YCC and discussion we've had in our health class, this has been more than a service project."