Ogden United Promise Neighborhood: OHS Achievement Club

Ogden High School’s Achievement Club has gathered attention for its success in helping at-risk students raise their grades and prepare for graduation, through group support and one-on-one assistance. Now the students in the group can add one more achievement to their list: helping families who are in dire circumstances.

Knowing that many students in the Achievement Club come from difficult backgrounds themselves, advisors helped them organize a service project to make blankets for Family Promise, a local nonprofit that provides shelter and support for homeless families. Ariana Sanguino, United Way’s Family and Youth Specialist at Ogden High, coordinated the effort and tracked down a donation of fleece for making the blankets.

Iz, a junior in the Achievement Club, feels like the club has made such a big difference in his life he was happy to give back. “I had bad grades and bad attendance,” he said, “so I gave it a try my sophomore year and it just changed my whole life around. I had straight A’s and good attendance.” When advisors asked who would be willing to help with the service project, Iz was happy to volunteer, and said he’d love to do more projects in the future.

Wendy Berger, who heads the Achievement Club, hopes the students will all be inspired by helping others who face bigger problems than they do. “I want them to see how important it is to serve others, how it makes them feel,” she said, and to be inspired to “pull yourselves up by your bootstraps and get going.” All of the students were silent as they listened to the story of Raquel, Executive Director of Family Promise, who came to the United States as a child and worked hard to learn English, get an education, and create a good life for herself and her family. Raquel also emphasized how much it can mean to a family with few possessions of their own to receive a new, clean blanket to give them comfort and keep them warm during a hard time.

Another student, Sandra, said visiting Family Promise to drop off the blankets changed her perspective. She liked making a difference to “families that don’t have the same opportunities we have,” and it changed the way she sees people who are struggling.

United Way is proud to partner with the Ogden School District, and to recognize this service given by students who are themselves receiving help as they reach out and help others who are struggling. As we work together in efforts like these, we strengthen our community and demonstrate the true meaning of the words “Live United.”