ROCKFORD, Mich. (WZZM) - There are many ways you can give back to your community. One organization has found a way for you do that by saving lives and helping your local school.
For over 25 years Rockford High School has held blood drives during the school year. Steve Lewis is the administrator who helps supervise the students who organize them. "I think our last blood drive was around 160 pints."
Over the last several years, the schools' Youth Initiatives Program has incorporated them as part of their charity work that also includes canned food drives and raising money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
It seems that their efforts are about to pay off - literally. "We're going to give $10 for everybody who agrees to donate blood in the name of an organization and we'll donate the money to that organization," says Jim Childress of Michigan Blood. He says they created a new program called Summer Step Up. It's a way to help organizations like Rockford's Youth Initiatives earn fundraising dollars, while helping Michigan Blood get additional donations during their busiest time of year - summer.
Lewis is appreciative of the additional funding this will provide. "We can always use the money. The more money we have the more we can do for this community and beyond our community."
Last year Rockford's Youth Initiatives raised $40,000 to build a Habitat for Humanity home for a family of six. Rockford senior Colin McWatters says it was something that he'll never forget. "And it was such a great experience being able to walk up into that house with the kids, show them their bedrooms, being able to say 'this is where you live now'. It's like a feeling that you can never really explain. The feeling that you can really only get with this kind of opportunity."
Now those projects will have added support in the way of funding through Michigan Blood's Summer Step Up program. It makes Colin think about all the possibilities for the future. "We'll be able to do Habitat for Humanity as well as clothing drives and food drives too."
And of course blood drives, which give donors the opportunity to give while supporting their local schools.
The Summer Step Up program takes place in June, July, and August and includes any school group from bands to cheerleaders to athletic.
But you don't have to wait until summer to donate blood. This week Michigan Blood is holding a Recycle Yourself blood drive from Wednesday through Friday. Click the link to find a location nearest you.