WHITTIER – Over the last three years, Santa Fe High School students, staff and community members have gathered once a month to create handmade fleece blankets that are donated to local organizations serving children in need.

Since then, the school has thus far donated more than 700 blankets, inspiring more students to partake in the ongoing community service project, called the Gratitude Project.

“By bringing together students, staff and community, we are demonstrating to students that we are a stronger force together than by ourselves,” said counselor Cheryl Redgate, who launched the program along with the counseling team in 2013. “We really can do something to impact the lives of others who need help and this is just one way to reach out.”

When the program first started, the Santa Fe counseling team held a letter campaign to raise donations of money, time and material from local businesses and organizations. The school’s PTA, staff and 15 businesses and organizations donated nearly $3,000 to the cause.

Approximately 45 to 75 students, individually and from a variety of campus service clubs, gather over their lunchtime to cut and knot the blankets, producing 20 to 40 blankets each session. District retiree Sue Caldera then sews individual labels that read: “Made for you with love by the Santa Fe High School family of students, staff, parents and neighbors.”

“I think our kids are empowered by the knowledge of what they can do for other people,” Redgate said. “No matter what may be happening in our students’ lives, we hope that they are learning that they can make a difference to others. By working together for this cause, we will touch people we don’t know as well as people who are close to us. We’re a family at Santa Fe and feel it is important to reach out in our world.”

Blankets are donated to the PIH Health Hospital in Whittier, Long Beach Memorial Children’s Hospital, Ronald McDonald House in Long Beach, Santa Fe Springs Relay for Life Cancer Society, and staff, children and students who are hospitalized or critically ill.

“While we always focus on providing our students with rigorous academics, we also want to instill in them a sense of community service that helps them be the best people they can be,” Principal Craig Campbell said. “I want to thank our counseling team for providing this opportunity to our students and the community. We always strive to make a difference in the lives of others.”

Students and community members are invited to make blankets on Wednesdays, Nov. 16, Dec. 14, Jan. 18, Feb. 15, March 15, April 12 and May 17 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

For more information, call Cheryl Redgate at (562) 698-8121, ext. 4033.


SANTAFEBLANKETS: Santa Fe High School students show off their handmade fleece blankets that will be donated to nonprofits that serve children in need as part of the school’s Gratitude Project on Oct. 12.