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West Jordan Journal

CHHS Paws for a Cause will serve community safely

Dec 03, 2020 02:44PM ● By Jet Burnham

Student government officers celebrate a successful charity drive season in December 2019. (Scott Adamson/CHHS)

By Jet Burnham | [email protected]

Copper Hills High School Student Body President Shayla Nham, along with presidents from other nearby high schools, met with Superintendent Anthony Godfrey to ask that their schools’ annual charity drives not be cancelled due to coronavirus concerns. They shared with him their ideas of how their activities could be held safely.

“He wanted to hear from us, and not just to take it on his own because he knows that we care about our school so much and we care about this event,” Nham said.

Godfrey’s subsequent report to the Jordan Board of Education convinced board members to trust students and administrators to follow public safety measures as they planned their activities.

Most of the traditional activities for CHHS’s charity drive, Paws for a Cause, have required adaptations.

“We have a lot of creative minds in our government, so I'm not worried,” Nham said.

Whatever limitations or changes are necessary, students are determined to not cancel Paws for a Cause.

“This is what brings our school together and is what everyone looks forward to at Copper Hills,” Nham said.

Many of the traditional social events—assemblies, cafeteria activities, community performances—have been adapted or replaced with socially distanced alternatives. For example, the traditional Grizzlies Got Talent Show will be a virtual event. Students will be able to purchase the live stream and watch it from home.

A large portion of fundraising comes from the collection of donations in the school hallways. To avoid crowding and money-handling in the hallways, there will be a QR code students can with their phone to make their donation digitally and from a safe distance.

“The biggest difference this year is the restrictions we will have on going out into the community,” Scott Adamson, adviser to student government, said. “We usually hit the neighborhoods to help out, but we are going to be vigilant in not putting residents or our kids in danger.” 

In past years, students canvassed neighborhoods, offering to do simple service and collect donations. They helped elderly residents put up their Christmas trees and decorate their houses. This year, if public safety recommendations allow, they hope to find ways to help with outdoor projects, such as hanging Christmas lights. 

The students have also reached out to more local businesses, such as restaurants, to host fundraising nights.

What makes CHHS’s charity drive different from other schools in the district is that they don't give all the money they earn to just one charity.

“We actually use it to help our community,” Nham said. Every year, money collected provides Christmas gifts for 100–125 local families.

“The amount of money we make grows every year, and so the amount of families that we can shop for increases, which is amazing,” Nham said.

The rest of the money collected goes to help community members. In the past, the money has paid for funeral expenses, medical bills and medical equipment, a wig for a teacher going through chemo treatments and donations to Karie Sue Hamilton School.

Shayla loves the opportunity to make her community better. As a student officer for the past three years, she has seen firsthand how much families appreciate the gifts.

“It's just a heartfelt feeling because you realize all the work you put into it was worth it in the end,” she said.

Adamson said everyone looks forward to presenting the gifts to the families at the end of the fundraiser.

“I have seen a lot of joyful tears over the years,” he said. “I have shed a few as well.”

Community members can get involved by submitting names of families that need help with Christmas this year. They can also make donations electronically—with a credit card or Venmo—at