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District 206 students involved in the We Act group traveled to the Xcel Engery Center in St. Paul to celebrate We Day in October. (Contributed)

We Act students are taking action

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We Act students are taking action
Alexandria Minnesota 225 7th Ave E
P.O. Box 549
56308

There is a new student group in Alexandria that is looking to make a difference not only within their community, but also around the world.

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Students at Jefferson High School (JHS) and Discovery Middle School (DMS) have become involved in We Act, a student-run nation-wide service organization with the goal of doing good throughout the community and inspiring students to make a difference.

District 206 Community Education sponsors the program locally, with help from a start-up grant from Geneva Capital in Alexandria. Students also wrote grants to obtain money from Youth as Resources.

There are currently 30 juniors from JHS as well as 15 9th graders from DMS involved in this program. This is its first year, so the group is just getting started and learning the process. Next year, it will be open to all 9th through 12th grade students who wish to participate.

Members of the group are encouraging others to join, but only if they are willing to put in the work. We Act is not like other groups at the two schools: it is student-run and everything is done on the students’ own time.

They meet once a week, but also work on projects after school.

These students, along with 18,000 others in Minnesota, earned their ticket to We Day at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul in October. The tickets were secured by completing or committing to service projects both in their community and across the globe.

We Day is an educational event that is tied to each yearlong We Act program. The goal of We Day is to encourage students to shift their focus from ‘me’ to ‘we’ through various service projects.

The event features nationally known performers and speakers.

Local We Act members Hannah Lindgren, Emelia Carlson and Eric Welle expressed that We Day was an inspirational event that had an impact on them. They said it was motivating to listen to the speakers and to hear about what other schools were already doing.

The students have been busy ever since that event with organizing their own service projects. They participated in the Celebrate My Drive campaign, which encourages teens to make positive choices when driving, and helped at the Miltona School Halloween event and went trick-or-treating to collect food donations for the We Scare Hunger program, which was introduced by the founders of We Act, Free the Children to eradicate hunger.

Students are also collecting books for Cheer on Reading, which donates books to the United Way Traveling Bookstore and Bookstore Africa.

Carlson wrote a grant through Youth As Resources and received funds to put together care packages for military families.

She e-mailed school district staff to identify students with family members in the military.

Students then gathered to make tie blankets and assemble the care packages, which were delivered last week.

The project was called Holidays of Hope.  

Both Lindgren and Carlson, juniors at JHS, noted that being a part of We Act is a large time commitment, but one that is well worth it.

“I thought it was cool to have a group that would actually do things and to do something with my time,” said Lindgren when asked why she joined We Act.

Welle, a 9th grader at DMS, added, “It is great leadership training and pushes you to take initiative.”

The students at JHS and DMS are planning more projects for after the holidays, and are eager to make a difference in their world.

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