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CASA Cares Collects Items for Residents Affected by Hurricane Michael

WELLSTON, MO -- Last October, Hurricane Michael wreaked havoc on the southeast U.S., displacing residents and demolishing homes and neighborhoods. Hundreds of miles away, Normandy High School students saw the wreckage on television and wondered, “What if I woke up and everything I had was gone?”

     It was at this time, these students were looking for a service learning project.

     The students are a part of the district’s alternative education program, the Center for Academic and Social Advancement or CASA. Students in the CASA program are catching up on credits to graduate or have fared better in a non-traditional classroom environment.

     CASA Cares is the students’ service learning program. They worked with the department’s social worker, Susan McLean, and began collecting personal care items and children’s toys last fall to donate to Florida residents who are still recovering from the devastation caused by Hurricane Michael. The students collected travel size personal care items for all ages, and toys and games for youth.

     “The students immediately made a connection to the residents and wanted to do something to help,” said Denitria Neil, coordinator of Alternative Learning at Normandy. “We are so proud of their initiative and the depth of empathy they have shown.”     

     The students are planning to ship the collected items to Florida soon, but already have plans for next year’s project. Neil says the CASA Cares students will collect items and donate them to youth in homeless shelters.