Massachusetts Association of NHS Chapters
in 2013, the Massachusetts Association of National Honor Society (NHS) Chapters was named the Ardis Kyker State Service Award winner for their state service project, “Sending Sunshine Your Way: Gift Bags for the Shriners Hospitals.”
In 2012, the State Committee in Massachusetts, a committee of the Massachusetts Secondary School Administrator’s Association (MSSAA), recommended this project as the Adopt-a-Charity for the 2012-2013 school year. Advisers attending the spring 2012 state conference approved this project for chapters in the state to support and invited a representative of the charity to provide an informational session at the state association’s fall conference to begin the planning process for chapter participation.
In selecting the Shriners Hospitals for the state service project, the association identified three goals for the activity: raise awareness of the Shriners hospitals and the services they provide; encourage local chapters to perform a community service project to benefit the charity; and provide a hands-on service activity for the delegates attending the association’s spring conference.
Following the fall conference, the state director of the Shriners Hospitals provided a “wish list” of items that chapters could collect or provide, and this information was added to the association’s website. This use of technology was key to getting the maximum number of chapters involved in the project. The project was included in all conference registration information for chapters and a reminder email was sent to all registered schools just prior to the conference.
At the spring conference, delegates set a goal of creating one gift bag per delegate. The delegates spent time decorating bags and making cards for items to be distributed to hospital patients. Delegates from 18 chapters, representing roughly 8% of the state association’s membership, brought in the items that were collected or purchased at the local level.
More than 115 bags were created and filled by the students attending the sessions at the conference. Each bag contained four gift items and a handmade bookmark. In addition, more than 45 handmade cards were created to accompany the bags.
The bags were delivered to Shriners Hospitals in Boston and Springfield, MA. The individually decorated gift bags and handmade cards were warmly received by hospital patients.
For reaching out to young people in need and rallying their state membership around the cause, NASSP, parent organization of the National Honor Society, proudly recognized the Massachusetts Association of NHS Chapters, sponsored by MSSAA, as the 2013 recipient of the Ardis Kyker State Service Project award.