Jazmine Morfin, a University Preparatory High School (UPHS) junior and Leadership Club president, saw something online that inspired her to make a difference in Tulare County.
“Jazmine is always looking for a project,” said UPHS Lead Teacher Helen Milliorn-Feller. “She has the ambition and the compassion to initiate projects that can make a difference in the community, asking the staff ‘can we do this here?’”
What Jazmine found was the DoSomething.org website, which challenges young people to take action in their communities to solve a problem. There, among the dozens of community engagement ideas, was a “Hunger Games”-themed food drive.
Jazmine and her classmates seized on the idea of creating their own food drive and modeling it after the popular book and movie series. The leadership club organized homerooms into “districts” like those in the films. Each district was represented by a pair of seniors, who served as “tributes” to compete in a variety of fun events. Together, Jazmine and classmate Mackenzie Mitchell recorded four promotional broadcasts in the style of “The Hunger Games.” The weekly broadcasts were shown in homerooms and designed to build excitement and participation in the food drive. The videos also served as a project for Mrs. Milliorn-Feller’s journalism class.
To encourage the students, UPHS’s Parent Support Organization (PSO) pledged to rent out a movie auditorium for a private screening of the newly released “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay” movie for all UPHS students to attend if they were successful in raising 5,000 or more food items. At the end of the drive, which concluded November 18, faculty and students counted all the cans and food items and there were 5,055. The PSO honored their promise to help take the collected items to the Visalia Rescue Mission and Bethlehem Center food shelters.
Jazmine, who one day hopes to work in international business helping people throughout the world, said, “As part of our campaign, we worked to educate each other about hunger in our county and globally. I learned that as many as 17,000 Tulare County children go hungry each day. It was something that many of us didn’t realize.”
The “Hunger Games”-themed food drive and the upcoming jeans and coat drive mesh well with UPHS’s mission to provide leadership and service learning opportunities to each student. To learn more about supporting UPHS’s coat and jeans drive this month, call Helen Milliorn-Feller at 730-2529.