Talent Middle School students in Iris Moya's Community Leadership classes are collecting items for Medford nonprofit Hearts With a Mission as part of a class project that will culminate on Dec. 16.
The roughly 100 students participating made collection boxes and signs explaining the project Monday, and have been making the rounds through TMS classrooms to explain the project's goals and set up the collection boxes. The goal is to collect personal items such as hair brushes, shampoo, conditioner and toothpaste that will go to the at-risk youth that HWAM serves.
According to its website, HWAM strives to provide at-risk youth with "a home filled with love and compassion in a safe and supportive environment, with family reunification as a primary goal."
HWAM representatives will visit TMS on Dec. 15 to talk to students about the struggles that at-risk youth face locally. The following day, HWAM will collect the donated items and later distribute them to at-risk youth.
Moya hopes the project will open her students' eyes to some of the challenges faced by other children. It also will provide a great opportunity to give back, she said.
"I believe our young students need to be aware of the problems around them and become proactive in their community, school, and at home," Moya said. "I want them to be creative problem solvers...to become adults who can lead and find solutions to problems they will be facing in the future."