- Sponsorship -

Stepping up to donate in a time of need

School programs donate protective equipment, materials to meet local need

Beth O’Donnell normally spends her days working with 200 high school juniors who are interested in the healthcare field – future nurses, doctors and other professionals likely to work someday in area medical offices and hospitals.

The instructor for Exploring Health Careers program at Kent Career Tech Center leads hands-on, interactive lessons to provide students with knowledge and experience before they choose which health career to pursue. The last months of school usually consist of units like CPR and First Aid training, and capstone projects where students study a career in depth.

Randy O’Donnell delivers donations

This year ended much differently due to the state-mandated closure of schools to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. So O’Donnell stepped up in a different way to contribute to local health care and its unprecedented need.

She piled up personal protective equipment to donate – masks, gloves, isolation gowns; and cleaning items like hospital-grade wipes and hand sanitizer. She and other Tech Center staff members have sent loads of supplies to Spectrum Health from her class and the center’s other health care programs. Also, instructors from criminal justice, construction and automotive programs donated items including safety glasses, thick tight-fitting gloves, masks used for painting – all materials that can be used when supplies run short.

They also donated items to the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans and Edison Healthcare facility. 

Tech Center Assistant Principal Laura Robinson said she loves that the staff joined forces to help.

“I appreciate that our health care staff and students are helping the industry they are going to be a part of… What a great family. It demonstrates who we are,” Robinson said. “Even with everything shutting down, our staff jumped in to help without a second of hesitation. Isn’t that what the health field is known for? Being givers? I am so proud of the people I work with.”

From left, Randy O’Donnell and his mom, Kent Career Technical Center’s Exploring Health Careers instructor Beth O’Donnell, deliver donations

Other schools and GRCC donating, too

Educators in other districts are pitching in as well. Rockford schools nurse Kelly Theaker donated 5,000 medical gloves and more than 1,000 masks. The Grandville High School science department donated 219 pairs of protective eyewear to Metro Health Hospital.

The Tech Center stepped up with various donations

Grand Rapids Community College has stepped up in several ways. Donations include more than 70,000 pieces of medical and personal protection equipment. Faculty members are volunteering time and expertise to Spectrum Health and other local healthcare facilities and public safety departments, according to a news release.

GRCC’s Biological Sciences and Physical Sciences departments donated supplies, along with Nursing, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Radiologic Technology, Dental and Medical Assistant programs. The Secchia Institute for Culinary Education and the Residential Construction program also supported the effort.

Nursing faculty members are also volunteering for shifts and assisting in other ways. The Nursing Programs department loaned thermometers and donated more than 1,500 thermometer probe covers to the Grand Rapids Police Department. Several nursing faculty members are also working shifts at hospitals and assisting with other roles as able, and as requests come in.

Items ready for delivery

GRCC also offered Spectrum Health employees use of the Bostwick parking ramp while students are away. That helps employees who usually must ride shuttle buses from far-flung lots.

An Emotional Experience

O’Donnell said it’s a great feeling to help right now—helping meet demand that is still surging. “It’s bittersweet. It feels empowering; It feels good to do something,” she said.

Still, there was a sense of sadness while she gathered items in the classroom where her students would normally be. “We are not going to meet in this space again,” she said. “There’s also a grieving in accepting that we are done.”

- Sponsorship -
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio or email Erin.

LATEST ARTICLES

Looking for classroom lessons in the great outdoors

Sally Triant is exploring every GRPS campus in the city, looking for places to turn the outdoors into an educational opportunity...

Fourth-grader’s pickle stand inspired by school marketplace

‘With my tiny fingers, I am good at stuffing them,’ said the young pickle peddler. ‘You can see how they are packed in, so you get more for the money’...

Home schooling inquiries grow as parents ponder how to meet children’s needs

The pandemic has caused parents to seek options for schooling and socialization. For some, home schooling becomes an option, while others create new ways to help their children...

GRPS to continue virtual-only instruction for rest of semester

GRPS leaders decided to extend the district's 100 percent virtual learning model for the rest of the first semester after the Kent County Health Department announced rapidly rising COVID-19 positivity rates...

1 COMMENT

  1. GRPS schools should be donating plastic gloves
    paper towels etc.
    I worked there 25 yrs an seeing they won’t be going back they have stuff in the school kitchen the nurses office.
    I know what a great job they are doing to feed the kids.
    It’s a lot of work but always possible.Thanks for your donations.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Home schooling inquiries grow as parents ponder how to meet children’s needs

The pandemic has caused parents to seek options for schooling and socialization. For some, home schooling becomes an option, while others create new ways to help their children...

Teaching from a distance: ‘they have to learn to be patient’

Lana Tran, a 26-year district teacher, is in her regular classroom this year, but behind a locked door. Her 18 students are at home, their parents having chosen distance learning...
- Sponsorship -

HOW'S SCHOOL TODAY?

Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...

RADEMACHER & FRIENDS

Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -

MEDIA PARTNERS

Maranda Where You LiveWGVU

SUSTAINING SPONSORS