DHS rallies behind new charity effortThursday, October 12, 2006 By ANA HEUREUX AND ALLIE MILLER
Every year, DHS is involved in a program called Holiday Hope to raise money and gifts for families around the winter holidays. This year, however, DHS business teacher Marshall Gerstenblatt, along with other teachers and students, is starting a new fundraising organization called Helping Hands. This program focuses on providing funds for Dartmouth citizens. "There are people in this building who need help," Mr. Gerstenblatt said. Originally the money was going to come from the community, but teachers thought that students should be involved. Mr. Gerstenblatt said, "The organization is teaching students that giving back is critical in the education process." Helping Hands encourages Dartmouth students to give to their peers, and emphasizes that the kids who are really benefiting are the givers. The fundraising will start on October 23 and end November 3. The goal is to raise $5,000 in the ten days by collecting any spare change or cash for the first 15 minutes of a different period each day. At the end of the two weeks, the money will be counted, requests for aid will be considered and it will be anonymously decided if each is worthy. Mr. Gerstenblatt also stressed that he wants the program to have "the least amount of effect on the educational process possible." The daily collecting is not meant to interrupt the classroom, but rather to encourage the students to give back. Junior Kira Ball heard about Helping Hands through her mother, who attended a PTO meeting late this summer. "This helps kids in our school who don’t have the privileges I have, and I wanted to get involved," says Ball. Echoing her feelings are sophomores Kate Torres and Isabelle Cassell, who both agreed that Helping Hands is a way to directly affect the lives of people in the school. "A lot of people think Dartmouth is a really wealthy town, but what they don’t know is that there are kids at our school living out of their cars," says Cassell. Ten days may seem like a long period of time for one fundraiser, but no one is in any way required to donate. Some members of the group do admit to feeling awkward asking for money. As Kira said, "We want to teach kids that giving back means a lot more than they realize and that not everyone has even the smallest things like extra change." For this reason, volunteering students have agreed to put aside these awkward feelings about asking for money. All donations are optional. "If receptacles are put in everyday places, people will be more likely to donate their pocket change," said Cassell. Those who want to become involved are welcome to join the effort by contacting Mr. Gerstenblatt in A2.