Akron Public Schools Students Create Mats for People Experiencing Homelessnes

Buchtel High School Students present mats at the Haven of Rest

During this past school year, a talented group of students made sleeping mats out of plastic bags as a part of a service project. The students were part of Teddy Nantambi Mwonyonyi’s Family & Consumer Sciences class at Buchtel High School. The class consisted of 7th and 8th grade students.

The mats that the students made were donated to the Haven of Rest in Akron. Staff from Project Rise and the class of young students attended a tour of the Haven of Rest after presenting their donation of mats. Project Rise is a collaborative effort by Akron Public Schools, local shelters, and the Akron community to provide supplemental educational services to children and youth experiencing homelessness.

The mats the students made were completely handmade and each one took over 24 hours to complete. They have been working on these mats since the beginning of 2018. The mats are made of plastic grocery bags, twisted and then crocheted together like yarn. This is a new trend of creating goods out of plastic, it is often referred to as “Plarn” (Plastic Yarn). They were able to donate a total of seven mats the day of the tour and were finishing up a few more at school to donate at a later time.

Michael Solosky (Development Officer of Donor Relations) gives tour of classroom at Haven of Rest.

On June 1st, Amanda Smith and Rachel Gibson of Project Rise were able to meet with the students who made these beautiful mats at the Haven of Rest before the tour of the facility. Ms. Smith, Special Programming Assistant, was able to share some background information on family homelessness with the class. Ms. Gibson, Project Rise Intern attended the tour with the class and helped share information with the class about Project Rise.

Michael Solosky (Development Officer of Donor Relations)

The tour was conducted by Haven of Rests’ Development Officer of Donor Relation, Michael Solosky. During the tour we were able to see the main shelter, Harvest Home for women and children, and their donation center as well. After the tour Mr. Solosky invited to enjoy a wonderful lunch at the Haven that serves the homeless in Akron every single day. Project Rise would like to sincerely thank all of the staff and students from Buchtel High School who donated the mats and took the time to learn about the Haven of Rest and Project Rise. We would also like to thank Michael Solosky for giving a wonderful tour and for inviting us to have lunch.

Project Rise has identified and served close to 2,000 students during the 2017-2018 school year. For more information on Project Rise and how you can help, please contact Rachel Breece, Special Programs Coordinator, at 330-761-2969 or rbreece@apslearns.org.


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