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The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

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Erinn Varga 24
Erinn Varga
Print Design and Opinion Editor

(she/her) Erinn is a senior at West and this is her second year on staff. She is the design editor and opinion editor for the print publication. If she's not currently running, you can find her drawing,...

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1440 Interact holds Stuffed Animal Drive

1440 Interact will be holding a Stuffed Animal Drive from Dec. 4-8 that benefits Open Heartland, a local nonprofit.
Stuffed+animal+donations+can+be+left+either+in+the+main+office+or+foreign+language+classrooms.
Lilly Graham
Stuffed animal donations can be left either in the main office or foreign language classrooms.

This week, Dec. 4-8, 1440 Interact, West High’s Rotary International affiliated service and volunteering club, will hold a stuffed animal drive. 1440 is accepting donations of new or gently used stuffed animals in partnership with Open Heartland, a non-profit organization that helps support Latinx immigrant families in Johnson County. West students and faculty can leave stuffed animals in donation boxes in the main office or any foreign language classroom. 

Open Heartland plans on distributing these stuffed animals, along with homemade cookies and gifts, at their annual Holiday Elf event Dec. 10. Through the Holiday Elf Program, over 350 families were matched with “elves,” who sponsored a family by providing each family member with two gifts from a wishlist.   

1440 has collaborated with Open Heartland in the past, with volunteers speaking at meetings about their experiences with the organization and upcoming volunteer opportunities. For the past two years, 1440 members have recorded videos of themselves reading children’s books, which were then played to children learning English with the help of Open Heartland programming.

Dexter Hanna ’24, a 1440 Executive Board member, volunteered with Open Heartland during his sophomore and junior years.

“[Open Heartland’s] cause is to provide those who have immigrated to the community from Latin America with resources and support. Clothes and supplies are available in the store [for free], and they hold classes for topics such as English, computer navigation and sewing,” Hanna said.

Hanna believes it is essential for 1440 to work with and help support local nonprofits like Open Heartland.

It’s important to collaborate with local nonprofits not only because of the impact on the community, but also because it allows us to maximize our resources and extend the reach of both groups,” Hanna said. “Open Heartland is a good partner for [1440] because of the connection some students already have with them, and we may be able to advertise for their cause to the student population, some of whom may need support.”

If you are interested in local volunteer opportunities, come to 1440 Interact meetings on Wednesdays after school in Señora Sandhu’s room, 236, or email [email protected] to be added to 1440’s email list.

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About the Contributor
Lilly Graham, Print Managing Editor
(she/her) Lilly Graham is a senior at West, and this is her third year on staff. Lilly is the Managing Editor for the print edition. Outside of school, Lilly enjoys playing tennis and spending time with her friends and pets.
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