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Student groups donate to area hospices

Contributed NATIONAL HONOR SOCIETY DONATES — The Buckeye Local High School National Honor Society provided Valentine cards and scented items to give comfort to patients at Valley Hospice Care Center of Steubenville, Liza’s Place of Wheeling and Trinity Hospice Center of Steubenville. Among those helping were, from left, front, Valley Hospice Volunteer Coordinator Carla Woodward, Alexis Scott, Brooke Roski, Jenna MacAlister, Briana Staats, Allie Berze and NHS Adviser Alonna Ackerman; middle, Brook Carpico, Conrad Schuetz, Garrett Cesario and Kya DeMeter; back, Steve Bezak, Corban Westfall, Bryan Blazeski, Mary Dagan and Elijah Lovell.

CONNORVILLE — Students at Buckeye Local Junior-Senior High School are spreading care and comfort by making donations to area hospices.

The high school National Honor Society and junior high student council contributed cards, personal care items and money to Valley Hospice Care Center of Steubenville, Liza’s Place of Wheeling and Trinity Hospice Center of Steubenville. The NHS gathered more than 100 bottles of shower gel and lotion plus soap, Epsom salt and Chapstick. Additionally, they provided handmade Valentine cards while the student council raised $100 for Valley Hospice’s Whispered Wishes program to grant end-of-life wishes for patients.

NHS Co-Presidents Elijah Lovell and Conrad Schuetz said they were glad to lend a helping hand.

“We made 18 Valentine cards for patients at Valley Hospice and more will be sent with the nurses to (patients’) houses,” said Lovell.

Schuetz said the other items were collected during a period of three weeks and the entire school was involved in the project. The collection was proposed by club member Kya DeMeter, whose mother was a former nurse at Liza’s Place and provided similar goods to her patients. DeMeter said she wanted to continue the effort and involve the school.

“It was something my mom was passionate about,” she said. “I figured it would be good for the National Honor Society to have more of a reach. What [the patients] are going through is hard enough and whatever we can do to help them will make all the difference.”

DeMeter also hopes to provide bicycle helmets to kids as a spring project since she was also involved with the Ride with Pride program.

Meanwhile, Schuetz said the group was proud to participate and Lovell said one of the organization’s goals was to help the community. NHS Advisor Alonna Ackerman was equally proud of the teens and said the project was their idea.

“I feel really blessed to work with a group that is as community-minded as they are,” she added. Ackerman said the organization has also volunteered for events and held a Christmas card drive, while the latter involved sending 300 cards into the community.

BLJHS Student Council Adviser Jennifer Panepucci said her eighth-grade group conducts an annual fundraiser by selling personalized Christmas bulbs and proceeds help a different cause. This year, they chose Valley Hospice.

“The bulbs hung on the Christmas tree at school and were taken home [over the holiday break,” she commented.

Carla Woodward, volunteer coordinator for Valley Hospice, explained that the Whispered Wishes program benefits a patient by fulfilling end-of-life wishes such as providing a Christmas present or something to a loved one to remember them. She was also thankful for the students’ support of patients in their time of need.

“I think it’s amazing that they want to be involved with Valley Hospice and the community,” Woodward said.

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