When Sandy Stambaugh's study skills class first started their semester leadership project, each student said they'd never once been a leader.
But, by the end of it, they had realized they did possess leadership skills and had gotten a good handle on how to use them, too.
For the project, students devised a plan to raise money for the non-profit organization One is Greater Than None, which saves children from child trafficking in Ghana, Africa. It takes $4,300 to save one child, and the organization collects donations and stresses that "any contribution, no matter how small, has value."
The students set out to give $4,300 and raised $800 — still a successful venture, they said.
"It doesn't matter how much you give; it just matters that you give something," Bryce Rodgers said. "And you're not going to be judged for what you give."
The students settled on One is Greater Than None because students their own age started the group and they all had a desire to help stop child trafficking.
To raise money for the organization, the students hosted movie days at school and sold tickets for admission as well as raffled off a One is Greater Than None necklace. The jewelry is symbolic of their mission: The blue glass bead represents one child, while the eight beads surrounding it represent the eight girls who started the group.
The project took a great deal of collaboration, from deciding which organization to help to figuring out exactly how they would raise the money. They also encountered some hurdles, like getting teachers to allow their students to leave class for the movie and trying to convince eighth-graders to watch a G-rated film (getting parental permission for a more-adult movie also was a challenge).
The students said they did their best to promote the fundraiser through posters and word of mouth. Many gave up their lunch breaks to promote the event.
One of the best things about the leadership project was the feeling that they had all made a difference to someone, the students told North Canton Patch.
"No matter who you are, you can make a difference with something if you believe in it and keep pushing yourself towards it," Skylar Zbuka said.
The project was very much a learning experience for everyone, added Regan Worstell.
"It taught us how to set and reach our goals, and a big chunk of it taught us about our leadership styles and how we lead."
This year's leadership project included the following students: Summer Barnett, Dominick D'Agostino, Christian Floom, Logan Froelich, Derek Gray, Michael Gusbar, Marcus Long, Nicholas Marker, Jordan Nelson, Dominique Patterson, Bryce Rodgers, Samual Watts, Regan Worstell and Skylar Zbuka.