Morgan Hammers, 18, of Malin, Ore., a senior at Lost River Junior/Senior High School in Merrill, established a Sparrow Club at her school to raise funds for a sick child and promote community service among her fellow students. Morgan's service-learning teacher gave her a book about the origins of Sparrow Clubs USA, a national nonprofit organization of school-based clubs that raise money to assist children in medical crises. "It was such an inspiration that I e-mailed the organization to find out more the day I finished reading it," said Morgan.
With help from the national organization, Morgan found businesses that agreed to sponsor a Sparrow Club or make smaller donations, and also found a family facing huge medical bills for a critically ill child. Then she held a kick-off assembly at her school, and organized meetings with interested students to come up with service and fund-raising ideas. As club members performed a variety of volunteer projects in the community, Morgan kept track of their hours to qualify for their sponsorship pledges. Morgan's effort ultimately involved more than 300 students and community members, and raised more than $3,000 for her club's Sparrow family. "I have learned the importance of caring, understanding, a deeper sense of family, and just how an illness can affect a family," said Morgan.