Fort Dodge Senior High Alternative School students will raise funds for seven Fort Dodge organizations through the holiday season.
The service learning projects are part of the students' social skills class.
"They had to come up with the idea, what group they wanted to work with, and what they wanted to do with the group," Jennifer Lyman, FDSH instructor, said. "They chose something on their own. I didn't pick it for them."
The 12 students who volunteered for the class were given approval by the Fort Dodge Community School District board Monday to begin their fundraisers.
For the projects:
Salena Hiracheta and Merranda Frank will help Gordon Willard Alternative School, in the FDCSD, by holding an international dinner to raise funds for a scholarship for students who have graduated from the program to help continue with their education.
Ethan Sorenson and Austin Espinoza will help the Fort Dodge Police Department Reserves by collecting donations for purchasing needed equipment, including bulletproof vests.
Cheyanne Guthrie will help Youth Shelter Care emergency shelter and STARS treatment program by creating drop boxes at schools and across towns for clothing donations, as well as hygiene items for youths in the programs.
Savannah Adkins and Marissa May will help FDSH by creating a support group that offers counseling for students in unhealthy relationships. The group would work with Domestic and Sexual Abuse Outreach Center and Community and Family Resources to provide students with information.
Daniel Ball will help Almost Home Humane Society of North Central Iowa by organizing a community garage sale with all proceeds going to the animal shelter.
Dillon Mead and Shae Carter will help the YWCA by raising money to purchase a vehicle so the women and children there can travel more easily in the city.
Raven Parrish and Tanner Dawson will help the Beacon of Hope Men's Shelter by collecting donations as well as items to create care kits for the shelter's residents.
Many of the students have a personal connection with the organization being helped, Lyman said.
"We have a student who's going to do some fundraising for the animal shelter, and that's a very personal connection for him. His mom works there. He's spent a lot of time there, volunteering and helping out," Lyman said. "The group that wants to work with the (YWCA), his mom works there, so he's spent a lot of time helping out there too. They all chose things that are close to them."
The students also benefit from the projects.
"Throughout the class we'll work on goal-setting," Lyman said. "How to reach goals, long term planning. And they'll use those skills to be successful in their project."
Lyman said she was proud of her students' ambition for helping these organizations.
"A lot of these students are trying to help an organization that maybe has helped them in some way," she said. "And this is a great opportunity for them to give back, where they may not have the means or resources on their own."
The students hope to have their efforts completed by the end of the semester in February.
"We've also had a lot of conversations where, if they're not, just because the class is done, it doesn't mean they need to stop what they're doing," Lyman said. "Hopefully, by the end of the term, they'll get done what they wanted to do."
Brian Forsythe, FDCSD board vice president, applauded the students Monday.
"You've all chosen very noble goals," Forsythe said. "You're good examples of the quality of students we have here in the district."