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South Jordan Journal

American Heritage of South Jordan students team up with Operation Gratitude

Apr 19, 2021 10:58AM ● By Julie Slama

American Heritage of South Jordan’s 12 National Honor Society officers pose with representatives from Operation Gratitude and the National Guard, who thanked the students for coordinating their school’s efforts to extend kindness and service to others. (Photo courtesy of American Heritage of South Jordan.)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Every couple months, the American Heritage of South Jordan National Honor Society chapter adviser has taken sealed boxes to be mailed.

The boxes arrive at Operation Gratitude where they are channeled to deployed military troops, first responders and veterans. Beginning last spring, Operation Gratitude extended a second wave of gratitude to those on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was looking for service organization that our students could reasonability come up with items to help,” said Bobbi Hansen, who also serves as the school’s curriculum director. “It’s been part of our schoolwide program, ‘Be the One,’ where students extend kindness and service to others.”

As part of the program, one day per week, the 250 pre-kindergarten through high school seniors proudly wear their “Be the One” T-shirts instead of dress uniforms and voluntarily donate requested items which the National Honor Society members have shared with the school community. 

In the fall, it was “boxes and boxes of candy,” enough to fill up a car with the seats down, Hansen said.

This winter, it was beanie babies, small plush stuffed toys, that can “bring a smile” to those who receive it, Hansen said. Operation Gratitude’s website said that after deployed troops are entertained, they may give them to children in combat zones, serving as a double purpose.

“We decorated our Christmas tree with them,” she said about the approximate 135 donated beanie babies.

In February, students contributed about 200 pairs of black crew socks, which Hansen learned will go to the military.

Typically, American Heritage of South Jordan students place items in a collection box in the school’s lobby, then the 12 National Honors Society students count and package them for Operation Gratitude.

To be a National Honor Society member, American Heritage of South Jordan students need to be a high school sophomore, junior or senior, have attended the school for a semester, have a cumulative 3.7 or higher GPA for the previous three semesters and serve in a leadership role in a school or community activity. National Honor Society members also are expected to participate in three service projects.

The school also offers a National Junior Honor Society for students in seventh through ninth grades with similar requirements.

“We want kids to understand that they’re not the center of society or life,” Hansen said. “They are an important part of the whole, but they’re a part of a fabric of people which takes a lot of kindness to make the fabric beautiful.”