MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – What is your legacy to the community? What is something you can do that leaves a mark as to who you are and the message you want to give about the youth in your community? That was the question, teacher Cynthia DePetro asked a group of students at Marquette Alternative High School seven years ago. She asked them to focus on something that wasn’t being done but the need is there. They found out that socks are the most requested and least donated item by homeless or other people in need. Out of that came their Rock the Socks event.
“It served two purposes. Collect as many socks as you can to donate to organizations that help our homeless population. Number two, let’s raise awareness. It’s easy to go throughout our day and focus on our own needs and not notice the needs of other people,” DePetro Said.
Seven years later, more than two dozen schools and businesses decided to take up that mission and collect new socks. While the drive has grown in popularity, DePetro says the mission hasn’t changed. “This isn’t a contest to see who can collect the most socks. It’s about taking care of each other and our community.”
Students like Jordan Matchett knew about the program and wanted to take on a larger role in the project.
“It seemed fun to finally be a part of the group that started it all.” Matchett added, “They don’t have to be fancy socks, they can be plain white socks, any socks, all sizes, they are all accepted.”
Other students like Krissalyn Johnson still see the need and felt called to help.
“Since we’re such a community based school, I thought it would be nice to return the favor for what the community has done for us. It’s just a really nice thing to do for other people when they’re in need.”
Johnson added that generosity doesn’t have to mean a grand gesture. “One pair of socks is such a success for our community. It’s such a nice thing. Just one. It doesn’t have to be a hundred. A hundred would be nice, but just one can be so powerful when you give it to people in need.”
DePetro added how watching the event develop over the years she’s enjoyed watching it grow into something so big and so wonderful.
“Our job is to prepare our students for the real world and we want to make sure that we get the academics, but I think helping develop loving hearts and giving human beings is probably the greatest thing that not just educators, but all of us need to do,” DePetro added.
Between December 9th and 13th, you can drop off new, adult, youth, and infant socks at the following locations:
Marquette Alternative High School, Marquette Senior High School Athletics, Bothwell, Graveraet, Cherry Creek, Sandy Knoll, Superior Hills, MAPS Central Office,,Technology and Transportation Offices, Father Marquette Academy, Aspen Ridge and Nice Community Schools, Ishpeming High School, Negaunee High School, Gilbert and Sawyer Elementary Schools in Gwinn, Northern Michigan University School of Education and Athletic Departments, Mister McGregor’s Garden (Werner), Profiles in Hair Design, Wattsson and Wattsson Jewelers, Select Realty, Embers Credit Union (all 3 locations) and St. Louis the King Church.
Northern Michigan University is also stepping up efforts to collect socks: