Dear Editor,

What started as a year of uncertainty, turned out to be an amazing year for my students.

I am the Teen Outreach Program (TOP) facilitator at both Ottumwa High School and the Accelerated Career Academy. The TOP program promotes the positive development of adolescents through curriculum-guided and interactive group discussions, positive adult guidance and support and community service learning.

Students completed several service learning projects this year. A Socktober Sock Drive was the first event. Students collected socks to donate to those in need. Their goal was 500 pairs of socks. They were shocked when they collected over 1,300 pairs! Students were able to show off their design skills when they were asked to create an inclusive reminder card for Iowa Medicaid. In March, students hosted a St. PAWtrick’s Pet Photo event. Tracey Brown Photography took photos of local pets dressed in their St. Patrick’s best. Money from the event was donated to Heartland Humane Society. The final project of the year, were Grief Bags. The bags were made with love and donated to all Ottumwa elementary schools and will be given to young students that have suffered a loss.

Ottumwa has some outstanding young people that are making a positive impact in our community!

Kolby Streeby, American Home Finding Association, Teen Outreach Program Facilitator, Ottumwa

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