LHS’s Club 17

LHS's Club 17 provides everyday items to students in need.

Photo provided by Lauren Teller

LHS's Club 17 provides everyday items to students in need.

Lauren Teller, Opinion Editor

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Club 17: The name may sound like a secluded underground nightclub, but it serves a much more purposeful role for students at LHS.

After reading a book this past summer that discussed first generation poverty, Principal Grimm was inspired to start a program that would provide simple, everyday items for those in need. Club 17 supplies students with necessary items, such as clothing (socks, sweatshirts, pants, bras and underwear), as well as toiletries like deodorant, shampoo, toothbrushes and toothpaste. Grimm has seen a need for the items at LHS and decided to take action at the beginning of the school year in order to make sure that students would have their needs met even past school hours.

“There’s about 17 hours from the end of the school day to the start of the next,” said Grimm. “So, [Club 17] is the gap that fills in those hours of need. We have some food gift cards that we can give to a student to go out and buy a sandwich, or something to hold them over until they are able to get something to eat at school.”

The program has already been utilized by a significant amount of students, with community members and supporters of LHS even donating to the cause. Although there are similar programs within the community such as the Banquet and Food Pantry, Grimm hopes to make the items more accessible, reducing the need for students to go out into the community for help.

“Before the break, I had a young man come in, and he and his family were living in a hotel,” said Grimm. “He took not only items for himself, but also for his brothers and sisters who are in other schools. So, if we didn’t touch another person—if not one other person accessed Club 17—it’s worth it right there. More kids have accessed it, but it just so happens that four siblings did, and all of them were in need.”

The passion behind the program began with a very personal connection to the stigma surrounding poverty. Growing up, Grimm experienced times of need, having little himself. By locating the program within the walls of LHS, he hopes that the fear of asking for help will be eliminated.

“It’s more of the stigma of having to ask and feeling like you are in need,” said Grimm. “I don’t want kids to feel like they are somehow wrong because they need. Most people live a very fortunate and blessed life, especially in our community. However, I grew up with nothing, so I don’t want someone to feel the way that I was made to feel when I was growing up.”

Students in need can reach out to a trusted teacher or a staff member, who will in turn help them to access the supplies. The process is confidential and judgement free, solely focused on providing students with the items that they need.

“Let a teacher know. Let some adult know, a counselor or another administrator you know,” said Grimm. “All you have to do is just ask. It’s non-judgemental; we don’t go up and stand in there while you select the items you need. You just have to simply pick out the items you need and put them on the table area that we have set up. We bag it up for you, we bring it down to the office, and you can pick it up at the end of the day. The only reason we bag it is because we need to keep track of what we need and what we don’t. We have some people who have donated money, so we can just go out and [get the items needed]. Right now, we need sweatshirts and heavy clothing items.”

Eventually, Grimm hopes that the program will be self-sufficient through supply donation. Having “made it out” of poverty himself, this act of kindness is his effort of paying that generosity forward.  

“Someday, maybe a student who utilized the program while they were in school, will return once they have extra and come back to support the future students,” said Grimm. “There will always be need no matter where you go, whether it’s LHS or an inner city school in Downtown Detroit, there will always be kids in need. If you make it out, you are supposed to pay it forward and help. You can’t ever repay the people that did right for you, you can only pay it forward.”

If you are a student interested in helping Club 17, please contact your counselor about donating items to the program. Donations are greatly appreciated by many students at LHS.