When Dishman Hills High School student Andru Maughan hand delivered a bag of storybooks and stuffed animals to a patient in Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital, he knew from the smile on the child’s face that he had made a difference.
“Even though she didn’t speak English, I didn’t need a translator for me to understand her, because I knew what she was saying. I knew from all of her expressions that she was grateful,” Maughan said.
Maughan was captain of Team Snuggle, one of eight high school groups who were finalists in the Spokane Teachers Credit Union Hundred Dollar Project.
As part of the project, 35 high school teams from around the area submitted proposals to STCU. Employees there evaluated the ideas for practicality, impact and creativity. Ten finalists were then given $100 to carry out their project through the end of March.
Eight of the 10 finalists were able to complete their projects. The top three based on a public vote were named winners. The first-place team was awarded $2,500, second place got $1,500 and third place received $1,000.
This year, Sandpoint High School’s Team SHS Interact won first place for their work delivering baby supplies to their local food bank. Team Kindness in a Bag from Rogers High School took second, and Team Snuggle from Dishman Hills High School won third place.
“We asked ourselves, what is something in our community that people need, and the food bank said it was baby supplies,” said Paul Meyer, president of the Sandpoint High School Interact Club.
The school held an assembly where they organized “Baby Olympics,” consisting of competitions including students crawling across the gym, feeding teachers baby food and chugging apple juice out of a bottle. The group also sold doughnuts to raise money for baby supplies.
They raised $682 and collected more than 1,400 diapers for the Bonner Community Food bank.
“I think it’s a great thing for our students to realize the impact they can make on our own community,” said Team SHS project adviser Jeralyn Mire.
The Sandpoint team plans on giving the $2,500 they won back to the food bank.
The second place group from Rogers, Team Kindness in a Bag, was launched by students Tavia Powell and Kaitlynn Ingram. They made care bags with toothbrushes and other toiletries and delivered them to St. Margaret’s Shelter in Spokane.
Powell said they worked at least 70 hours on the project, frequently working well into the evening. But she said seeing the women’s faces at the shelter when they received the bags made it all worth it.
The Rogers group won gold for the same project at the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America state leadership conference. They are traveling to San Antonio, in July for the national leadership conference.
Other finalists took a different approach. Students from Riverpoint Academy hosted an anti-bullying event. A team from Mt. Spokane High School collected hundreds of books from schools around the area to create an Education Station at a local elementary school, and distributed the books to students.
Lance Kissler, who co-manages the Hundred Dollar Project along with STCU community development officer Keith Appleton, said part of STCU’s mission is to reach out to youth and make a positive impact. In addition to community service projects, he said students can also create a new product or business idea with the $100.
“Hopefully it inspires them to think differently in terms of what kind of impact they can make on the world with a small amount of money,” Kissler said.
He said STCU hopes to make this an annual tradition, and schools will have another opportunity to participate next year.
Mire, the adviser for the winning group from Sandpoint, pointed out how valuable the project could be to students beyond high school.
“When you help someone else, you realize how fortunate you are and you’re able to think outside of your own needs, and I think that will carry them,” she said.