PORTLAND, Ore. -- The pressures outside of the high school walls are often more difficult than the school work.
That is the case for many students at David Douglas High School, where more than 70 percent of students qualify for free or reduced lunch and a family's financial situation can have an effect on a student's attendance.
With the help of the community, two teachers are trying to change that.
Tracy Lind and Heather Murdock started Celtic Heart 13 years ago as a way to get students the basic necessities to be successful in high school. Here's how the program works: After receiving an anonymous request from a school counselor, Heather, Tracy or their student assistants go to the basement and sort through the thousands of items that have been donated by former students and community businesses. The requests vary from school supplies to soccer cleats, but no request goes unfilled. If an item isn't available, Heather and Tracy will go out after school and shop for the student themselves.
This program has not only helped those receiving the assistance, but it has helped bring the school community together. Larger requests are often fulfilled by many of the teachers pooling their resources. By keeping the requests anonymous, students never know who they are helping, thus fostering equality and developing empathy within the student body.
For 13 years, Celtic Heart has been at the backbone of the David Douglas community without many people even knowing it exists, which is exactly how it was designed.