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Niwot students warm hearts and hands


December 11, 2019 | View PDF

Jack Greene Photography

Maedee and Julea Trank-Greene, seniors at Niwot High School

Julea and Maedee Trank-Greene are twins and seniors at Niwot High School.

They also have had a lifelong interest in helping the homeless. "It makes me very sad to see people living on the street," said Julea.

Which is why, for their IB CAS project, the Trank-Greenes are collecting food and winter gear for the homeless through HOPE for Longmont.

CAS stands for Creativity, Action, and Service, and it is one of the requirements to graduate from the International Baccalaureate program. Juniors and seniors must complete 25 hours of activity in each of these areas. They also have one culminating project that stems out of one or more of their project areas.

"Ours is a mix of service and creativity," said Julea.

For the sisters, the CAS project was the impetus they needed to do something they had wanted to do for years. Inspired by similar projects at their mother's workplace, they decided to put together bags of non-perishable food items for the homeless.

But they didn't stop there. "Everyone's just focusing on the food aspect," explained Maedee. The sisters wanted to make sure the homeless would also get winter supplies--gloves, hats, blankets, chapstick, and hand-warmers.

The original idea was to include winter gear in the food bags, but the sisters ultimately decided to donate the two separately. "So we know the people who need the stuff are actually getting it," explained Julea. This is also the reason they chose to donate goods through HOPE for Longmont rather than handing them out in person.

Their plan was to get a grant to support their project, but this proved harder than they thought. The Niwot Booster Club could not give them money, but it could give them advice--and that, according to the twins, was probably more helpful. "It gave us ideas and helped us build our confidence," explained Maedee.

Once they decided to focus on getting donations, the Trank-Greenes set up a Go Fund Me campaign, an Amazon wish list, and a donation box at Niwot Market. The Amazon wish list contains mostly winter gear, and they will use money from the Go Fund Me campaign to buy appropriate dry goods. They are planning to purchase granola bars, tuna, crackers, chips, and fruit cups--things that are easy to carry and store, but still nutritious.

Their initial donation target was $500. They have already surpassed it. "I was honestly in shock," said Julea. The sisters repeatedly mentioned their gratitude for the support of their family, school, and community.

They also want to involve their community in the project. The Niwot Booster Club seeded the idea of making their donations more personal, and that resonated with the sisters. "I don't want it to be like, 'here's a sack,'" Maedee explained.

So the sisters will invite their classmates to help them make fleece-tie blankets and to decorate donation bags. They also hope other students will take up the mantle and continue the project once they're gone.

Maedee and Julea will continue gathering donations through Jan. 6. That will give them time to buy goods, prepare donation bags, and do the required reflection before their project wraps up at the end of January. "I'm just really excited to see where the rest of the project goes," said Julea.

If you would like to support the Trank-Greene's project, please use these links to donate:

Amazon Wishlist: https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/3GIBPZXFF14YQ?ref_=wl_share

GoFundMe link: http://gf.me/u/wzdujw


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