Headstrong for Jake
Junior Liza Clough’s family has overcome a lot of heartache since the loss of their son, Jake, in a biking accident six years ago. If he had not been wearing his helmet, he wouldn’t have lived that extra month after his accident. Through the grief, the family has decided to spread the word about biking safety by creating the Headstrong for Jake Foundation. In this project, students will go to different schools and speak alongside professionals about bike safety and how to prevent injuries. Kids can also get properly fitting helmets and participate the bike rodeos that the group organizes.
The group is starting off speaking to first graders at Prairie Elementary. Once there, a man from the KU hospital will talk first about pedestrian safety, then a woman from the KU hospital will talk about biking safety. After they are done with their presentations, students involved will act out plays to demonstrate the hazards of poor safety precautions.
“I’m in a skit that’s called ‘Jack and Jill,’” sophomore Sami Walter said. “It’s about these two eggs. One wears a helmet and one doesn’t, and they both fall. The one not wearing the helmet splatters while the one wearing the helmet survives.”
To prepare for the presentations, the group has met for a read-through of the skits.
“We’re starting off with younger kids [first graders] to see how they react, since we haven’t done this before this year,” Walter said. “I can see that Jake has made a real impact on the family,
To learn more about the Headstrong for Jake organization, see upcoming events and find out how you can help, visit the family’s website at headstrongforjake.org.
If you’re interested in helping out the elderly while enjoying games and hearing stories from “the good old days,” then the Village Shalom SHARE project is the one for you. The group meets once a month and visits the Village Shalom retirement home, just off of 123rd street and Nall. Students will meet with the members of the home and participate in activities as both a coordinator and a participant.
“Last time we went, we worked in the early dementia ward,” sophomore Tiernan Shank said. “At first they were like ‘What are they doing here?’ But then they became more comfortable around us.”
During their last session in February, Shank, fellow coordinators sophomores Molly Halter and Emilie Bruyere, and about five others directed a game of bingo. Some students called numbers, while others helped the residents of the home keep track on their cards. For those who didn’t want to play, there were students who would sit and chat with them, or just sit and listen to the stories the residents had to tell.
“It was really nice, because we were able to connect with a few of the members since there were only like two to three people per table,” Shank said.
The word has since spread of this project, and lots of people have heard it’s fun and are signed up to go on March 30th, according to Shank.
“It was really rewarding to see how happy we made the residents by visiting them,” Shank said. “I would recommend this project to anyone who wants to meet interesting people and have a good time, because you do both.”
How to Apply
If you want a more involved position for SHARE next year, SHARE exec applications will be available outside the SHARE office this week. They are due by the end of the quarter.
According to current exec and senior Julie Chalfant, the execs are looking to recruit people who are serious and dedicated to improving the program. She said that it’s a fun and easy way to give back and get community service hours as a bonus.
Chalfant said execs will choose several programs to manage at the beginning of the year from a pre-approved list made by director Pat Kaufman and assistant director Leslie Multer. They then are in charge of making sure each activity is well-advertised, coordinated, and runs smoothly.
“We do the behind the scenes work,” current exec and senior Sam Nelson. “For the Kaboodle for Kids project, we spent a lot of time cutting out fabric for blankets and getting supplies to make the treat bags.”
After applications are turned in and evaluated, students may be asked to return to be interviewed by the exec board the week after spring break.
“It’s a really great way to meet upperclassmen and other kids from East,” current SHARE chair and junior Tori Holt said. “There’s a project out there for everyone. And if you have an idea, you can start your own project. I really enjoy it because there are a ton of little things that we can do that will make life a lot easier for others. We have so much, it’s that we have this opportunity to have an opportunity to give back to the community.”