From left, Fraser High School juniors Isabella Palomba, Rachel McMenamin and Corinne Hinson recently used a school project as inspiration for a real donation drive for the homeless.

From left, Fraser High School juniors Isabella Palomba, Rachel McMenamin and Corinne Hinson recently used a school project as inspiration for a real donation drive for the homeless.

Photo provided by Fraser High School


FHS students turn project into drive for homeless

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published January 7, 2019

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FRASER — Fraser High School juniors Corinne Hinson, Rachel McMenamin and Isabella Palomba had originally worked together on an English project their sophomore year, with a hypothetical goal of “partnering” with a nonprofit organization.

The project aimed to inspire a group of people to achieve the American dream. The trio chose Feeding the Need as their imaginary partner, specializing in feeding and clothing the homeless.

While they planned a mock donation drive, they realized they could put on an actual drive. Born from that idea was Hope for the Homeless.

From Nov. 12-16, donation centers were set up in five Fraser Public Schools buildings, asking for winter clothing items. Every item collected was meant to be dispersed to homeless people in Macomb County.

After setting a goal of receiving 500 donations, the students soon realized that their aspirations weren’t as lofty as they could have been. More than 950 items, including coats, blankets, hats, scarves, socks and shoes, were collected the first week alone. Items continued to be collected at press time.

“It is incredibly humbling to have so much support for something that started out as a simple English project,” Palomba said. “It has really shown me how much impact just a few students can have on the community.”

McMenamin said the program made a huge impact on her, and she praised the district and community support.

Hinson said she was “honored” to be part of something that impacts the lives of so many.

“I’m so thankful for the staff and administration who have helped us organize this event, as well as the Fraser community who donated to our cause,” Hinson said.

Part of that staff includes their English teacher, Lisa Short, and district administrators, who worked together to take the initiative to the next level.

“This group went well above and beyond the expectations and made their idea come to life,” Short said. “They are truly helping people turn a dream into reality. I am impressed with their work ethic, empathy and dedication to change the lives of others in need.”

FHS Principal Ryan Sines said the Hope for the Homeless project is a teaching tool for the students. As he put it, they identified a real-world problem, planned how to execute their plan, met with adults who could help them, and used the input of others to successfully carry out the mission.

He said the trio’s “drive, grit and empathy exemplify what future employers will be looking for.”

FPS Superintendent Carrie Wozniak said the project as a whole showed creativity, dedication and empathy on behalf of the students. In turn, people who need help the most are receiving it this winter.

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