There are many different opportunities to help support the community. One way that the school is involved with the support is through a multitude of drives throughout the school year, but especially during the holiday season.
The Soldier Drive is a student lead project that was run this year by Lauren Llanes-Smith. The senior created the Soldier Drive at Grayslake North was a project to complete for school, but it means much more than that.
The Soldier Drive consists of donations of many different types of goods such as granola bars, canned food, or anything that is easy to ship out. These donations are turned into care packages that are sent into the Army through a list of contacts.
“Eight years ago, my sister ran cross country at North with her friend Kiera. Kiera’s Dad, Mr. Kram, was looking for contacts to send care packages to and my dad was in the Army at the time. My dad ended up making a list of contacts, and we sent care packages for the next eight years through my softball organization,” said Llanes-Smith.
This project was a smooth transition between getting donations through Lauren’s softball organization and extending it out into the school for a bigger payoff.
“I was looking for a project this year since I’m on the Social Studies Honors Society, and we were already looking for donations for our project with Mr. Kram. We just extended it into the school, so we had donations coming from my softball organization and North,”Llanes-Smith said.
Llanes-Smith made sure to give credit where it was due, and she spoke highly of the Kram family and how big they’ve been to give back to the world with this project that both of their families have taken on to do for eight years.
“My dad coaches my softball team, and he started it to leverage his position as a coach and to incorporate the girls and their families to take part in a team community service event. I wasn’t a big part of the project at North, but Lauren reached out to my dad about it and asked if the school could be a part of it this year,” said senior Scout Kram.
Scout wasn’t extremely involved with the project at North this year, but she has certainly been involved as a part of the Kram family to get the donations out there.
One of the history teachers a part of the Social Studies Honors Society is Roxanne Bristow, and she was more than willing to help out with this project.
“This really was all Lauren behind the project. She was very passionate about this, and I just helped her organize and handled the logistics of it all,” Bristow said.
Altogether, the project this year was a huge hit. The joint family team has been doing this for eight years to no avail, and it was especially successful this year.
“We packed food items such as canned goods, candy, pop tarts, granola bars, Slim Jims, ramen, etc. and toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion, toothbrushes, toothpaste, razors, lady products, wipes, etc., books, notebooks, and other items. This year we sent out 65 boxes,” Scout said.
With 65 boxes of care packages out right now, the passion project was more than successful, and hopes are high for next year’s progress.
The Food Drive
The food drive at Grayslake North used to be two separate occasions run by two different clubs. This year, both PSP and Student Council combined to create a bigger food drive and to be capable of donating more altogether to the organizations the food is distributed to.
The food drive has always been a great cause to take part in, and with the combined forces, it gave a much bigger payback.
“The food drive is an opportunity for us to bring the community together. We gather food and non perishable goods from the community, and this year we put up a class competition as part of it as well,” said Jaqueline Boratyn, sponsor of Student Council.
To promote and spread advertisement for the food drive, a class competition was put into place. The graduating class that gathered the most amount of food will be awarded a free heart rate day, a chance for all students to be motivated to get involved in.
“Join Student Council or PSP if you’d like to get involved. The food drive is an annual event that could always use more hands. To all the kids who are busy with sports or other activities, they can always participate by joining in on the class competition,” Boratyn said.
To make the food drive more widespread, students from PSP and Student Council went out and handed paper bags to local neighborhoods. This lets any families in the area that wanted to participate to have an easier access to the food drive.
“You can always just ask if you want to help out, and it’ll be greatly appreciated considering that there are many bags that we have to go through and pick up,” said senior and vice president of Student Council Bryan Donaire.
The food drive for this year has come to a close, but with two storage containers of donations full, hopes are high to continue the joint event.
“It’s rewarding to be able to get food out to families and donation centers that need it. I think it’s important for us to be able to keep it running,” Donaire said.
The drive has been successful in previous years with Student Council and PSP running their own separate projects, but the combined food drive has proven to be much more successful than the separate projects combined altogether. It is expected to run again next year at the same time, and hopes are high for it to continue to grow in numbers and help throughout the years.
The Holiday Workshop
The holiday season has started, and Grayslake North is finding ways to welcome in the holidays using the student body. The school has three large activities that students will participate in or help with which includes: Holiday Helpers, The Holiday Workshop and The Turkey Trot.
“The kid’s holiday workshop this year is called the “Drop and Shop.” It is an event that we host for the community where any parents are welcome to drop off their kids here at North so that they can go do holiday gift shopping while GNHS students take care of them. We entertain them with different crafts. There’s a movie room, an open gym, and we provide lunch for them,” said junior Loveliana Diaz.
Due to its success last year, this will be the second year of Drop and Shop. The Drop and Shop will be held on Saturday, December 14, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Children will be able to go around and do crafts for family members and then they can go shopping within the school for their family as well.
The next holiday related activity the school puts on is called Holiday Helpers. It is a way to help families within the community.
“It’s a way for us to bring a little bit of cheer to families who may need a little extra help this time of year,” said Student Council sponsor Jacqueline Boratyn
People reach out to the school and will give a list of things that they need or wish for during the holiday season and then Student Council will put that family and their list on an ornament. Students and people from the community will then be able to buy the items on the list for the family they choose to help.
The last thing that the students of Grayslake North are able to is a Turkey Run that is held in Long Grove on Thanksgiving starting at 9: a.m. The Turkey Trot is a 5 K and 8 K, and all ages were welcome. All the money raised from the run goes to the Northern Illinois Food Bank.
“My favorite thing about the Turkey Trot would be people enjoying memorable moments and accomplishments.The tasty finish line treats, hot cider and apple haus donuts are a nice bonus,” said community event worker Mark Kolozsy.
After the Turkey Trot people are able to spend time with people they came with eating treats that are provied for everyone who runs the 5K. It is a way for people of the town to come together on thanksgiving and do something together.
Participating in these different drives helps to give each student the opportunity to help others in need during the holiday season in many different ways.