“It’s important to understand that ‘homeless’ doesn’t necessarily mean holding a cardboard sign on the side of the road, [but] that it is families who are trying to survive,” explained Jim Cook, MSB-Elk River’s Human Behavior instructor, after his students completed their applied learning project.
The students chose to collect needed donations for Great River Family Promise (GRFP), a local shelter in Elk River. This organization and project was selected based on discussions in class about homelessness, people in need, and how and why people utilize resources such as this.
Cook felt that the partnership was a great idea and that it helped the students to apply the theories that were discussed in class. They were able to look at the course objectives in a different light and understand how human behaviors influence people’s lives and the decisions that they make.
The drive focused on items on the organization’s “wish list,” which includes kitchen paper products, kitchen and bathroom cleaning supplies, towels and washcloths, office supplies, gas/gift cards, Rubbermaid totes, diapers and wipes, and personal care items. They also collected clothing items, toys and cash.
According to Cook, it was both successful and worthwhile. In just one week, the class collected several bags of items as well as $34 in cash donations. When he delivered the donations, Jess Hartfiel, executive director of GRFP, and other staff members were there to accept the items, which they did with open arms and huge smiles.
Cook looks forward to continuing to support the organization in the future. He has already spoken with Hartfiel about future training and advising opportunities.
If you are interested in learning more about GRFP or assisting them with their efforts, go to: http://greatriverfamilypromise.org/ or call 763-441-9093.