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Rosemore's charity efforts: 'Life-changing'

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Members of Rosemore Middle School's student council pose for a photo in front of the toiletries donated by students and staff during the council's recent collection for Faith Mission.

While the images may not be as dramatic as those from their last goodwill project, students at Rosemore Middle School hope to have the same impact this month as they set their sights on Faith Mission in downtown Columbus.

The recent collection drive is part of an overall effort by the school, through student council, to boost students' empathy and outreach.

"We've tried to get student council more involved this year, to see and understand what's really going on in the world around them," said Mark Trace, principal at Rosemore Middle School.

Last week, students collected personal-care items to donate to Faith Mission. Founded in 1966, Faith Mission is an emergency shelter that serves up to 220 men and 46 women at three locations in the Columbus metropolitan area. Through donations and volunteer efforts, Faith Mission serves three meals a day, every day of the year.

Starting last week, each of Rosemore's six homeroom teams began bringing in assigned items such as soap, shampoo, lotion, toothpaste and deodorant. Anyone who donated at least one item could earn a free dress-down day.

The incentive drew a lot of interest -- and plenty of soap, too.

"It makes me feel great that our school is donating these items and not asking for anything back," said Haley Daugherty, an eighth-grader at the school and president of student council. "It's life-changing -- something you can actually learn from."

Haley is one of nine students and teachers who donated their locks in October to Children With Hair Loss, another goodwill effort led by the school's student council. She said it's an amazing feeling to give back to the community, and it has touched her deeply.

Trace said that's exactly the result he and other staff members were hoping to achieve. It's that understanding of leadership and philanthropy that he and his staff have been working to instill in students all year through student council.

Trace said he's aware that there are some students in his own building who may be hurting, too -- families down on their luck because of job or illness. But as he told sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders as they kicked off their Faith Mission drive, "You never know when you may need help down the road."

In 1989, Trace's infant son needed special attention from doctors at Children's Hospital in Cincinnati, which required an extended stay at a Ronald McDonald House. Trace said he was just starting out as a teacher and money was tight. There weren't any funds for a hotel room for several months, so he appreciated the outreach.

Last week, Haley was reveling in the outreach as she and her fellow student council members gathered hundreds of toiletries for donation to Faith Mission. Still sporting her short hair from last fall's Children With Hair Loss donation, she said both projects made her feel good. The new "do" allowed her to try some new styles.

But she added, laughing, "I think I am going to grow it out again."

Rosemore's student council also sponsored a toy drive over the holidays, collecting about 250 items to donate to underprivileged children in the area.