Doing Good NH with Inter-Lakes Middle High School: Never Too Young to Make a Difference!

The students at Inter-Lakes Middle High School are making a difference one pair of socks, one dollar and one hour of service at a time! Students in the freshman American and State Government class were asked on the first day of school:

How will you make a difference this year in our community?

Students reflected on their strengths and passions then started researching needs in the state. Students then used their passion to make a change! The class researched topics, created statistic charts, interviewed local agencies, came up with solutions, created a poster, and put together a public service annoucment about their topic. The sixty students collectively completed close to 1,000 hours of community service and raised over $4,000 for local agencies.  

Community stakeholders, parents, and guardians were invited to hear the freshmen presentations and to celebrate their hard work this semester. Over 300 guests came to the expo including a handful of those living at the New Hampshire Veterans Home.  

This semester students created projects around the following agencies and topics: Lakes Region Humane Society, NH Humane Society, Take Three for the Sea, the Sandwich wood share, cleaning up trash in our communities, the sustainability squad, Special Olympics, Lakes Region Flag Football, Bill Lamphear Basketball, The Laconia Chiefs, the Sandwich Basketball League, the Sandwich Soccer League, Madison Preschool, Make-a-Wish New Hamsphire, Cardz for Kidz, Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, the Greater Lakes Region Children’s Auction, the Alzheimer’s Association, fighting the opioid crisis, period poverty, the Elizabeth Stone House, New Beginnings, The Salvation Army, the Ashland Food Pantry, the Meredith Public Library, the Sandwich Library, St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, Kingdom Hall, the Nutfield Fire Protection District, NH Veterans Home, Operation Gratitude, and Honor Flight New England.

One student so eloquently said about the project:

There were many benefits to this project. One was knowing that all of the money we raised will be going to a good cause who could benefit from it. It really is an eye-opener. From the concept of money that a lot of teens oversee to the gratitude that surrounds this project, it’s really amazing how much we learned. These types of lessons are the most important and can not be taught in the classroom. I learned a lot about myself, which I didn’t expect. I learned how much I didn’t know about my community and topics I was not aware of. This project opened a door to meet new and amazing people and understand how lucky I am for the life I live.

Not only do the students give back through this project but in the spring of 2017, the Inter-Lakes Interact Club was started with the motto ‘service above self’. The club is sponsored by the local Meredith Rotary Club. These students meet weekly and do a service activity each month. In the three years the club has been established, they have donated over $13,000 to local, national and international non-profits such as the Wheelchair Foundation, ShelterBox, Love146, UNICEF, the fund to end polio, and the Rwandan Children Education Foundation. Locally they have volunteered with and/or donated to Got Lunch! programs, New Beginnings, Brigid’s House of Hope, Make-a-Wish New Hampshire, the Greater Lakes Region Children’s Auction, Mix 94.1 FM’s Cash & Cans Program, and The Salvation Army. These students provide breakfast for teachers on the first day of school, collect food for local food banks, sing at the Veterans home, answer the phones at the Children’s Auction, make cards for veterans, do spring clean-ups around town, volunteer at the Greater Meredith Fishing Derby and do a random act of kindness spree in the spring! Not only does the club volunteer and donate money, but they invite guest speakers to educate them on ways to help locally and internationally. 

Another way Inter-Lakes students help is by sponsoring Socktober every October! The club collects socks all over the state to be donated to those in need. Over the past few years, socks have been distributed to The Salvation Army, Lakeport Food Pantry, Inter-Lakes Student in Need Fund, New Beginnings, The Bridge House, the Lakes Region Santa Fund, Spaulding Youth Center, Isaiah 61 Cafe, and Bristol Community Services.

Five things about students Doing Good at Inter-Lakes:

  1. Since the service project began in 2007 the freshmen at Inter-Lakes have donated over 15,000 hours of service and thosands of dollars to local nonprofit.
  2. The most popular location for Inter-Lakes students to volunteer at is the local humane shelter.
  3. Students can volunteer from their own homes by making cards for veterans, knitting caps for babies, making quilts, putting together blessing bags for neighbors suffering from homelessness, baking for local shelters, and helping with mailings for local non-profits. 
  4. Inter-Lakes Interact Club has recieved the prestigious Rotary Citation for their work in the community the past two years.
  5. Inter-Lakes freshmen and Interact Club collect socks each year for local shelters. In the past six years they have donated over 12,000 pairs of socks to local agencies.

Never underestimate that a small group of individuals can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

– Margaret Meade

About the Author

Laura Brusseau was the Stay Work Play NH’s Civic Leader of the Year in 2014. She is an outgoing, supportive, active community volunteer, philanthropist, mentor, event planner and teacher. She not only teaches her high school students, but her friends, family and community members that giving and helping those in need is a wonderful gift and way to live life. Her camera is always ready to snap the best photo. She is working on completing the 48 4,000 footers with her pup Calli, finishing up graduate school this spring, and training for her fourth ½ marathon. 

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