PHS ASTRA Club Project Supports Foster Families
The ASTRA Club of Pendleton at Pendleton High School is finding a new way to help families in the Pendleton community in 2022. The group was recently awarded a $1700 grant from the Altrusa International Foundation Project Grant program.
Lucy Oyama, ASTRA President, explained how the student organization got to this point. The ASTRA Board of Kyle Liscom (Fundraising Committee Chair), Kendall Moore (Vice President and Service Committee Co-Chair), and Ethan Harrison (Service Committee Co-Chair) knew they wanted to jump on the opportunity to receive a grant for a larger service project. At their first board meeting in summer 2021, they had a long discussion, came up with several ideas, and found three ways to find a significant project to participate in. Liscom researched sending boxes to those serving in the military around the world, Moore contacted the Pendleton School Board and asked about district projects, and Harrison searched for community projects.
When group members reported back to each other, Liscom had found a group called Every Child Oregon, which mobilizes the community to uplift children and families impacted by foster care in Oregon. “We talked about it and decided that the Every Child Oregon Flash Boxes would be able to reach the most people, involve many of our own members in making a difference, and would serve our own community,” Oyama said. Liscom wrote the grant application, his first one ever, and submitted it to the Altrusa International Foundation.
Flash Boxes are 12-gallon totes that are filled with activities, items, and gift cards for foster children and their foster families. Some of the suggested items are craft and art supplies, puzzles, board games, books, baking supplies, outdoor games, as well as practical items like non-perishable foods, hand sanitizer, batteries, tote bags, tools, and gift cards for restaurants, family fun, movie theaters and more. The Flash Boxes are distributed to foster families by Every Child Oregon.
With the grant money and $300 from PHS ASTRA, student members shopped for and purchased $2000 of items for the Flash Boxes. They assembled ten boxes on February 7th.
Oyama said as PHS students participate in the Flash Box Project, she hopes they will be impacted as they serve foster families. “Sometimes doing a project like this opens students’ eyes to the needs outside of their own little bubble, and I believe that many students will begin to understand that serving others in need is something they can do easily.”
Since Every Child Oregon is statewide, ASTRA members said helping families that may be in their own community or those next to ours makes this service project seem almost more significant as it’s close to home.
The ASTRA Club of Pendleton is a youth service club sponsored by Altrusa International of Pendleton, Inc., founded in 2005. It is the largest service club at Pendleton High School.
“We have a truly amazing group of young adults in our community who are doing amazing things to help people locally and internationally!” said Debbie McBee, ASTRA Advisor.