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PHS student’s grant to aid other students with clothing needs

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PHS student’s grant to aid other students with clothing needs
Posted on 02/17/2015
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A Portland High School senior recently won a $500 Painting for a Purpose grant to help her fellow students meet some very basic clothing needs. The money will go toward purchasing new socks and underwear, items some students can’t afford to buy themselves.

Painting for a Purpose awarded student Margaret Parker the grant on Feb. 11. Painting for a Purpose is an organization that funds youth-led initiatives that make a difference in the community. The award ceremony took place at the school.

Margaret said she is the Key Club’s student representative for PHS’ Clothes Closet. “The Clothes Closet is targeted towards students who can't afford proper cold-weather clothing, especially recent immigrants,” she explained.

For privacy reasons, students get access the Clothes Closet by talking to a guidance counselor or school counselor, Margaret said. She said most donations to the Clothes Closet come from families and teachers associated with PHS.

“The need from the students is large enough that we perpetually run out of donations,” Margaret said. And she said when she was cleaning out the closet one day, she noticed “we were in dire need of underwear and socks.”

She talked to her teacher and Key Club advisor, Zarmina Hanifi, who told Margaret she could write a grant to Painting for a Purpose to obtain the needed items. “I went home that day from homeroom and began my project,” Margaret said. “The grant will really help students in need of clean socks and underwear – something that many of us take for granted. It improves their quality of life.”

Attendees at the awards ceremony included PHS Principal Deborah Migneault; Hanifi; and Sandi Lemmerman and Jane Ellis from Painting for a Purpose.

That philanthropic organization brings people together to create hand-painted “whimsical” furniture, then hosts an annual auction to sell the items and uses the proceeds to fund youth-led service learning grants for students in the Portland Public Schools.

Students are invited to write grants about how they want to make a difference in the community.

They must identify a community need, conduct research, propose a plan, devise a budget and document their learning as part of the grant writing process.

Over the past four years, Painting for a Purpose has provided more than $13,000 to fund such student projects.

For more information, please contact Jane Ellis at 934-3616 or ellis123@maine.rr.com or visit www.paintingforapurpose.net.