Lameisha Bailey, 16, was stunned when she learned about the devastation Hurricane Matthew had caused in Haiti.
“My first thought it was really crazy. I didn’t believe it. That really happens to people?” she said.
When the chance to help the victims presented itself Bailey didn’t hesitate. Bailey was one of a group of students who joined Marla Smith’s Hope for Haiti initiative, gathering food, clothing, books, school supplies and shoes to send.
Smith, a mentor with the Milford Boys and Girls Club, and a handful of other volunteers were recognized by Mayor Bryan Shupe at the April 10 Milford City Council meeting.
Hope for Haiti was a part of the Jefferson Award LEAD360 Challenge. Through this challenge students created different ways to volunteer and give back to the community. The winning projects from each city compete against other cities in the state to represent Delaware at the national level.
There were five from Milford—Hope for Haiti was one. Individuals from Lake Forest High School Jobs for Delaware Graduates, Lake Forest High School Interact Club, Loving Hands Community Outreach and Milford High School Jobs for Delaware Graduates, were also recognized.
Other participating cities include Dover, Georgetown, Lewes, Newark, Seaford and Wilmington.
“What I wanted to do was something that was a little out of the normal,” Smith said. “I know we are all about helping our neighbors, but I wanted to do something where we went into regions we didn’t think about helping. Knowing the history of what Haiti has suffered and endured I was really moved to want to do something to help even if it was in a small way.”
Hailie Owens, 14, was happy to give back.
“They lost everything,” she said.
“There was a need to give back,” Bailey said. “If it was us I’d like someone to give back to us.”
Milford High School’s Jobs for Delaware Graduates will be representing Milford.
Club advisor Patrick Helmick and his students were a big part of the high school’s annual Santa’s Workshop.
They sponsored inflatable toys and trains and were in charge of decorations and making sure the 475 kids who attended had a good time. More than 200 high school students and 22 teachers, plus volunteers from Morris Early Childhood Center, Greater Milford Boys and Girls Club, and the Learning Center, all contributed.
According to Jefferson Award Director Michele P. Fidance, this is the first time Milford has entered the LEAD360 challenge.
“It is inspiring to see the youth in our community take a proactive approach to serving others. The Jefferson Awards allow us to recognize the ongoing efforts by the next generation to create a better world for all of us,” Shupe said in a statement.