By Carolyn Marnon – “Shaping the community’s smallest hands to do great things” has been the driving force for Wayne Memorial High School senior Brooke Johnson. Brooke started Community Circle as a force for change after she attended the Civitan Youth Leadership and Diversity Conference in Indiana in the summer of 2019. She came home and began collecting for her first project-school supplies for the upper and lower elementary school teachers in the Wayne Westland district.
Brooke was busy this summer rounding up donations for her latest back-to-school project. Supplies included pencils, crayons, markers, scissors, glue sticks, highlighters, rulers and pencil boxes. This year, she has donated the stuffed backpacks to the Family Resource Center where the bags will then be distributed to students in need. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was unknown what the new school year would look like. If teachers were not at school directly interacting with their students, they might not be aware of what supplies a student has access to.
“My inspiration for doing this project again was so I could continue helping the community as much as I possibly can. I love creating a change and helping others. This is just one way I can help,” wrote Brooke in an email.
Brooke had the support of the community. The Amazon wish list she created brought a steady flow of needed supplies throughout her campaign. “I think it was because people felt safer shopping online, rather than going out to do their shopping themselves,” said Brooke. “We were also blessed with donors who sent money to sponsor a student. When they sponsored a student, I did the shopping for the supplies for that student’s bag.” Brooke requested $15 donations to sponsor a filled backpack on a GoFundMe page for Community Circle.
Brooke was able to deliver 210 backpacks filled with school supplies to the Family Resource Center. In addition, Brooke says “We were able to bring bags to students in need within the community if they messaged/commented to me on Facebook.”
“My biggest challenge this year,” she continues, “was the negative comments that I received towards the beginning of the campaign. It knocked my spirits down when it happened, but I got back up and used it as a learning tool.”
Brooke is looking forward to Summer 2021 when she will do her 3rd annual school supplies drive before heading off to college. She’d like to attend Eastern Michigan University. “My goal would be to study Business Management in hopes to expand my knowledge in Non-Profits so I can grow Community Circle to be its own legal non-profit so we can reach more students and families in need in the years to come. I am always thinking of ways I can give back to the community, so if the need arises, I could be doing something before next year. Stay tuned.”