Forty to 50 Edison High School students plus various staff members embodied the Christmas spirit during an after-school wrapping party Wednesday. The totes of items, which included school supplies and hygiene products, will go to children of families in need in Erie and Huron counties as part of Project Happy.
“I think it’s important that we leave a (positive) mark on these kids,” senior Nick Lombardi said.
Project Happy is one of the programs initiated by OHgo, which Christine Boesch, of Sandusky, and Kendra Faulkner, of Huron, co-founded in 2015. For more information about OHgo, visit https://www.ohgoreach.org. The volunteer, community outreach non-profit organization started in Erie County.
“I just enjoy kids,” senior Savanna Smith said. “Bringing them joy makes me happy.”
Edison Local Schools has collected more than 250 totes from its three buildings. At EHS the following organizations have made contributions to Project Happy: the French, Interact, Key and Spanish clubs, Teen Leadership Corps, publication crew, the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams, cheerleaders and student council.
Greenwich resident Nicole Withrow is responsible for bringing Project Happy to Huron County. This is her second year volunteering for OHgo. She said it’s awesome seeing the Edison students using their time and resources for a good cause.
“For me, it gives me hope that this generation has the gift of giving,” added Withrow, whose sister is school counselor Elisa Brown.
Members of the EHS Interact and Key clubs coordinated the Project Happy program in the district. The Interact Club, which is affiliated with the Milan Rotary Club, does many service projects. The Key Club is an organization that focuses on giving back to the community.
Brown and Withrow approached seniors Carlie Shover and Abbey Chenevey about bringing Project Happy to EHS and it grew from there.
“Originally it was going to be an Interact Club (project). Then we wanted to see how big we could make it,” said Shover, the communications officer.
“Then it kept going. It’s a whole district-wide project.”
During the wrapping party, many students wore OHgo T-shirts with the theme of “kindness above all else.”
Chenevey, like many of the students, was smiling as she wrapped a tote Wednesday.
“It’s amazing how many people around here are in need. … I think it’s really humbling,” she said. “I just think it is a really, really neat project.”
For Lombardi, helping prepare the totes for the children helped get him in the Christmas spirit.
“Since all my siblings have grown up we don’t do too much Christmas stuff together. This is a revisit to my younger years,” he said.