Gerard students participate in Socktober

Students and organizers at the Gerard Academy gathered 237 pairs of socks in 2014 for Socktober. Photo provided.

Students and organizers at the Gerard Academy gathered 237 pairs of socks in 2014 for Socktober. Photo provided.

Students at The Gerard Academy have found a way to give back, and it’s all about socks.

Students in the Cherbourg dorm at The Gerard Academy are hosting a sock drive to help offset some of the needed donations to the Dorothy Day Center in Rochester. This is the second year they have done the drive, and collected 237 pairs of socks last year.

“I just started to talk to the girls last year about it,” Lynn Smithwick, clinical supervisor for the Cherbourg dorm, said. “They were so excited so we did posters and we had goofy little laundry baskets all over.”

The idea came about from Kid President, a boy with brittle bone disease who makes inspiring videos online. Smithwick said it’s important for the students to give back not only for those in need, but to learn themselves.

“It’s humbling that the girls are having their own struggles, but for them to be able to give back, and give back in a really monumental thing like that,” she said.

Smithwick hopes the drive will become an annual event, and maybe expand to other articles of clothing.

“We’re hoping this year and each year gets better and better,” Smithwick said.

She also hopes to partner with more organizations who also do sock drives. Last year she noticed many of the students were taken with the drive.

“It’s a sense of giving back, but it’s also a really nice way of keeping them grounded,” Smithwick said. “Because if you think [about it] right now all the attention is on them and only their mental health issues, and for them to go outside of their own reality … to be able to go outside of that and give back to something or someone that’s less fortunate … it was just very, very humbling to go and do that tour.”

Smithwick recalled one of the students started crying when they visited the Dorothy Day Center last year, because giving back in that way connected with her.

“There’s a huge connection with leaving their day to day struggles and just being able to give back to someone,” Smithwick said.

All the dorms at Gerard can participate in the drive, and whichever dorm gets the most socks is the winner of the friendly competition. Smithwick recalled another student who used all his allowance money to buy socks last year, though he didn’t have much either.

“If you get them out of the environment that they’re at and they get to redefine themselves as neat kids, it’s amazing what they can do,” she said.

Neveln Elementary School has also been participating in Socktober and will hold a sock hop from 1 to 2 p.m. on Nov. 4, put on by Y105’s James Rabe. For more about Neveln’s sock drive, please contact Jeannie Goodew at jeannie.goodew@austin.k12.mn.us.

To learn more about Kid President, visit www.kidpresident.com/.

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