FPHS student project fosters leadership and commitment to serve others
Posted on 11/27/2018
Picture of students in classroom sorting donated clothing that is piled on top of tablesTeachers are challenged every day to show students that what they are learning is relevant to their lives. Great teachers achieve this through lesson planning, research on best practices, and learning from masters in the field. With this toolbox of resources, Forest Park High School Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) teachers transformed a clothing drive into lessons in workplace readiness and altruism. Students collected over 3,000 pounds, or 1.5 tons, of clothing and raised over $600, surpassing their goal of $400.

Three rows of large bags of donated clothing on classroom floor“It is my strong belief that students benefit from hands-on activities that allow them to practice their soft skills,” said FACS Teacher Susan Gonzalez, who initiated the class assignment.

Gonzalez and her colleague, Nancy Jones, asked their combined total of 90 students who are taking their independent living classes to each bring in 28 pounds of used clothing or textiles. The purpose of the clothing drive was to raise funds for community projects that promote healthy kids, and to collect baby blankets that would be donated to a family shelter and the Montclair Fire Department.

The project helped students visualize accountability and teamwork; practice and understand workplace readiness skills; and demonstrate work ethic, integrity, and initiative in a simulated work environment.

The students approached their month-long project as a business enterprise, first studying business management; leadership; and workplace topics such as diversity, attitude, communication, accountability, and time management. They launched their effort by soliciting clothing donations from the 2,000-plus student body and school community through social media.
Picture of two men pushing very large cart filled with bags of donated clothing
During class time, the students sorted, categorized, bagged, and calculated the day’s donations. On a weekly basis, they were required to weigh their donations, track their progress, and reflect upon accomplishments and improvements.

“Each pound delivered by volunteers to Savers Thrift Store was reimbursed at 20 cents per pound,” said Gonzalez. “We hit a soft textile goal and received an extra $100.” The store is a business partner of Forest Park High School.

The payoff for students was learning about the giving nature of the Forest Park student body and staff, what they could accomplish as a team, and how to motivate others to join a worthy cause.

Promoting responsible behavior and helping our community is Positively PWCS!
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