The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

December 12, 2013

Project Love is about spreading happiness

For the Star Beacon

GENEVA — As the holiday season approaches, Geneva High School’s Project Love is stepping up to provide for those in need and spread peace and happiness. Project Love is an organization dedicated to helping the school and the community.

The group’s adviser, Jessica George, explained, “The whole mission of Project Love is to provide opportunities to change the climate and culture of this building in positive ways.”

This diverse group of students works together to promote kindness. “Our goal is to make a lasting impact on the community,” said Mrs. George.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, Project Love took the time and effort to create a “thankful tree.” Students wrote the things they were thankful for on colorful leaves and stuck them all over the huge tree that was on display in the cafeteria. Within minutes of passing out leaves, the bare tree filled up with positive messages of thanks for family, friends, military, teachers, pets and many of the other things that bring happiness to students’ lives.

Project Love member Elyse Pitkin said, “Everyone was pretty generous and honest about how they felt. It was very sweet to see what they wrote.”

This month Project Love will be holding its fourth annual Geneva Eagles Together Making A Difference (G.E.T. M.A.D. ) donation drive at Geneva High School. The event will be held in the high school parking lot from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Students will be collecting non-perishable food items, coats, hats, gloves, toys and monetary donations for families in need this winter. The food will be taken to the Geneva Food Pantry, which is in need of donations to ensure that no family in the community goes hungry. Coats will be given to the Federation of Christian Athletes (FCA) which has been collecting donations all year for the United Church.

FCA adviser, Robert DiPofi, said he is content to know that students are willing to give up things so that other families don’t need to worry about basic needs.

Community members are welcome to come enjoy the holiday decorations and baked goods and beverages provided while they drop off their donations. Some of the donations from the G.E.T. M.A.D. drive, including gently used and new toys and monetary donations, will be distributed to Holiday Angels Loving Others (HALO) families. The homeroom classes, clubs and other organizations adopt these less fortunate families each year. The generous students in these groups provide the families with gifts such as donated toys and gift cards. Project Love members will be handcrafting tie blankets for the families as well.

Senior Dani Zapp said, “It’s very important. I love seeing my school give back to those in need. Project Love is a great organization, and I hope that it is around for a long time.”

Project Love recently made another exciting announcement for the students. This year the entire sophomore class will have the opportunity to participate in Project Love training. Students will attend a seminar during the school day and be broken into groups to learn about bullying. Each group will be headed by Project Love group leaders, juniors and seniors nominated by the staff for their outstanding leadership abilities and character. Group leaders were trained in November and will share what they have learned with the underclassmen. Once the training is complete, three-fourths of Geneva’s student body will have been trained.

“We hope it will have an impact on the decisions and choices students make every day,” said Mrs. George.

Project Love has expressed its desire to branch out further into the community and other schools in Geneva. Mrs. George said, “We are always looking to help out with any need in the community.”

Please feel free to contact her at (440) 466-4831, ext. 4303 or to discuss projects for the group.

Geneva High School Music Department is also very active during this time of year. Pep band is preparing to support the basketball team by playing at home games.

Band director Gianna Colella said, “We play pop music, classic rock. It’s pretty laid back, and the students are excited.”

The choir will be performing its winter concert 7:30 p.m. today in the auditorium. Geneva’s Image, the school’s award-winning show choir, will be performing at this concert as well as visiting elementary schools throughout Geneva on Dec. 18 and 19. They will also be performing for the students at Geneva High School to benefit HALO on Dec. 20. Each ticket sold donates $1 to the charity. They will be spreading holiday cheer for the whole community at the Geneva Giant Eagle at 4:20 p.m. on Dec. 20. Ariel Stehura, student director of Geneva’s Image, said, “I feel like the Christmas season brings us closer together as a group, and it’s fun to give back to the community.”