Centennial student leads successful charity drive

December 15, 1993|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Staff Writer

Centennial High School sophomore Allison Altscher didn't expect accolades for organizing a collection drive last month for Coats for Kids, an annual charity that provides winter coats to needy Baltimore-area families.

But there's her name, listed in the winter issue of Columbia Magazine's "The Very Best of '93" feature as "Best Volunteer" for her effort.

"That was a surprise," admits the 15-year-old Dorsey's Search village resident.

But she realizes the work of a dozen Dorsey's Search kids -- mostly Centennial High students -- who went door-to-door throughout the community in November collecting spare coats was significant.

"I felt like we were actually being useful in the community," Allison said. "We collected so many coats that I know a lot of homeless kids will have coats."

Allison estimates that the group collected as many as 75 coats through the door-to-door drive. She also designed a publicity campaign and left business cards at residences that helped the Dorsey's Search village office collect more than 100 coats from residents who dropped them off.

Coats for Kids, a program run through radio station WBAL's nonprofit Kids Campaign, distributed about 25,000 free coats to children who were accompanied by adults at 15 Baltimore fire stations in late last month.

The radio station, which asks area schools for assistance, depends on "grass-roots efforts" from high school students like Allison who volunteer to lead drives to make the program successful, says Laurie Fleishman, director of marketing and promotion at WBAL.

Cleaners Plus, in the Dorsey's Search Village Center, cleaned and repaired the coats collected by the Dorsey's Search teen-agers for free.

This is the second year Allison has participated in the Coats for Kids program, an effort that doesn't count toward school credit. "I just heard about the program and decided I wanted to do it," she says.

"I think people around here should start caring more about other people like the homeless. Here, people are privileged. They have what they need and want. It's nice to help out others who aren't as fortunate."

Allison, a member of the junior varsity basketball and varsity field hockey teams at Centennial, was assisted by Centennial High freshmen Chip Harrison, Ryan Gielen, Joey Pajardo and Natalie Bietry; sophomores Debbie Ray, Sun Young Kang, Natalie Hoover, Jenny Jeppi, Suzan Song and Karyn Leineweber; her brother, Aaron Altscher, a seventh-grader at Dunloggin Middle School; and Katherine Ford, a fifth-grader at Northfield Elementary School.

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