Staff, students begin preparing for holiday season


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Target shopping cart full of winter essentials

Morgan Tropf, Guest Writer

With the holiday season quickly approaching many families throughout the community are faced with financial difficulties.

FUSE Club tries to make the holiday season less stressful for families in need throughout the community.

FUSE stands for Friends Unite Students Everywhere, symbolizing this club’s main goal, according to club adviser Kathleen Morgan. She said, “FUSE Club is a peer-led social club/ group for kids with special needs, who don’t always have the group of friends around them to work with regular peers and attend things you wouldn’t even think twice about attending (like a sports event, the play, or charity events). We want everyone to enjoy their high school experience.”

Morgan works with psychiatrists from within the district to compile a list of families in need prior to the Target trip. On this trip, students will purchase gifts for kids in need throughout the community.“We break up the list so everyone is shopping for one or two people-then we wrap and deliver the gifts to a school site where they will give them to the families,” Morgan said.

Jarrod Mulheman, assistant principal for curriculum and staff development, is responsible for approving field trips within the district and never recalls having difficulty with this trip. “The leaders fill out two sets of paperwork; one of them is a request for the field trip, explaining the purpose of the trip (who the group is, who will be chaperoning, who will go, the time) and the other one is a request for the transportation. I need two weeks notice because I want to make sure we can get transportation and that it is applicable to either the curriculum of the course or if it’s an event like that for extracurricular than we can approve it.”

The two weeks prior to the trip, FUSE club collects donations to fund the trip; the more money raised, the more presents they can buy for the children in need. “We ask the teachers and give them a formal sheet that they can fill out, to donate towards the trip; the teachers are very very supportive of this event. We then we go around at lunch for about a week from table to table with a big Santa basket and ask everybody to throw in change and donations- so most of the gifts come from the student body and the staff,” Morgan said.

Sophomore Megan Kocsis attended this trip last year as a freshman. She thought the hardest part of the trip is finding gifts for someone you don’t know, but that the list serves as a good guide. She said, “My group had a young girl so we had makeup and a lot of braiding bracelets on our list.”

Morgan thinks the trip benefits all of those involved by building trust, communication and peer skills between students.“It helps the peer volunteers appreciate the kids with special needs and what it takes to do something as simple as going to the store. How we have to modify things for them, simple tasks like how to pick things out, look at prices, figure out a budget, pay at the checkout, wrap, and, all the social skills along the way: how to talk, communicate, negotiate, and handle being in a loud store,” Morgan said.

Sophomore Emma Elliot believes that this trip is a unique volunteer opportunity because you are helping people that are both with you and that you have never met. “We never really go to stores to get things for the people in need, we usually go to the people like in a nursing home, or at an event but this time we are going to the store and sending it to the people in need, so we never actually get to meet them,” she said.

Morgan has brought the students to Target since the trip began three years ago. “We originally reached out to three stores and Target got back to us right away and said they’d love to host us, so, we just rewarded them every year, by returning and spending our money there. We always call and give them a heads up. In the past we’d have a designated aisle that we went up and down so when we wanted to check out we could all go through the same cash register,” Morgan said.

After shopping, students return to school for a pizza and wrapping party.

Kocsis looks forward to participating in this trip again this year! “Yes, I´d go on the trip again. I am going on the trip this year because it was really fun to do and it’s really good to help people in need.”

Elliot hopes to participate in this trip in the future. “It makes me feel good that I’m helping others and that I am making someone else’s day,” she said

Mullheman agrees the trip is a great way for students from different backgrounds to connect. “I think it is a great trip for students, it’s a great chance for them to get out and socialize, its a great trip for the mentors of that group who work with the students in FUSE club. The idea of giving to others I think it is a great trip all around,” Mullheman said.