This Christmas, 336 children in Jackson County will be a little warmer thanks to the efforts of some Brownstown area teens.
Brownstown Central High School’s DECA Club recently completed its annual blanket drive that involves students collecting blankets to donate to the Sertoma Club of Jackson County’s annual Christmas Miracle program.
“It’s a student-driven campaign,” club adviser Robin Perry said. “They design ads, figure out logistics and promote it through the school and classroom.”
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The club’s 30 members came up with the campaign slogan “Make America Warm Again,” playing off President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign slogan of “Making America Great Again.”
“It’s a great way that we get to help those that are less fortunate and may not have warmth this winter,” said sophomore Bridget Hall, president of the DECA chapter.
Chapter vice president Christian Thompson, who also is a sophomore, agreed.
“Doing this can make a great impact to people in need,” he said.
DECA is a marketing association club aimed at teaching students about public speaking, public relations, marketing and business.
Hall said the club takes on many different endeavors throughout the school year, including attending a Central Leadership Conference; Granny Gamer, which brought technology into nursing homes; activities tied to DECA week; and other community service-related activities.
“It just helps the community, and that’s what DECA is about,” said Austin Fleetwood, a member of the group.
Thompson said DECA is a great experience for students who might not be great at public speaking.
“It helps them learn real business skills,” he said.
The group also helps students learn how to apply for scholarships and teaches confidence building and business skills, which Thompson said he feels are necessary to get into college. DECA also provide scholarships for those planning to further their education after high school.
More than 1,800 blankets have been collected through the drive since it began six years ago. The DECA Club has collected at least 100 blankets each year, including 278 last year and the most being 428 in 2013.
Each year, students in third-period classes collect the blankets.
There are incentives, including a pizza party, for the class that donates the most blankets.
This year, the pizza party winner was Stephanie Hackman’s class, which collected 201 blankets.
To encourage people to donate at school, the classes participate in a contest in which they came up with different displays incorporating the blankets.
For example, an earth science class made a display of blankets that looked like a telescope, and another class made a Christmas tree complete with working lights. Others spelled out words related to the holidays. The most creative class won Rice Krispie treats.
The blankets will be given away to children in need through Sertoma Club of Jackson County’s annual Christmas Miracle program the morning of Christmas Eve. The children also receive toys.
“It’s just a great way for students to give back to the community they live in,” Perry said.