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South Valley Journal

Hearts of Gold charity drive gets personal

Dec 04, 2019 10:39AM ● By Jet Burnham

Herriman High School student body officers focus on the children who benefit from their December charity drive. (Photo courtesy of Mike Wilkey)

By Jet Burnham | [email protected]

Herriman High School’s Hearts of Gold charity drive runs Dec. 2–20. Students will be raising money to help four children who are battling cancer.

“We wanted actual people so our community and our school can see an actual face and really make those personal connections,” said SBO service officer Sydney Reading.

Local charity Hayes Tough identified four families to benefit from HHS’s fundraising efforts. The families have a range of financial needs: One family has to travel to Seattle for its child’s treatments. Another is a single mom with six kids, one of them with cancer and another with heart problems. One family has 8-month-old twins, one of which has a brain tumor.  

“When a child gets cancer, the whole family is getting diagnosed as well,” said Savanna Tate, who founded Hayes Tough with her husband, Steve, in honor of their son Hayes who they lost to cancer. The foundation provides financial grants, support, and hope to families dealing with childhood cancer.

HHS students will meet the children and their families at the Hearts of Gold opening assembly Dec. 2. They will also get to know them as the families attend Heart of Gold events throughout the month.

Community members can support the families as well by attending Heart of Gold events such as family nights at Nickelmania and Airborne and restaurant nights, where a portion of the night’s sales go to the charity.

Donations are accepted during Odd Jobs, when high school students go door to door between 5 and 8 p.m. each night from Dec 2 to Dec. 19, offering to do any kind of service.

Donations can be made on the school website or in the front office. There will also be donation jugs at nearby elementary and middle schools. Donations can be made with coins, bills, credit cards or gift cards.

The community has always been a big support to the Heart of Gold tradition.

“I just think that it brings the community together and our school together,” said Camry Hoskin, junior class service officer. “You just see all these people working for the same good cause.” 

Last year’s Hearts of Gold fundraiser benefitted several children through Millie’s Princess Foundation. (Photo courtesy of Mike Wilkey)


This year, Mountain Ridge High School students will also be soliciting donations for their charity drive in some of the same neighborhoods as HHS. Students at the two schools are friends, but they are looking forward to some friendly competition as each student body tries to earn money for their charity.

“Both of our schools’ student governments have communicated really well, so a lot of it is coordinated efforts between our schools,” said HHS student government adviser Michael Wilkey. “It feels like we're working together instead of against each other.”

When HHS’s basketball team plays MRHS’s team Dec. 10 at 2:30 pm, each school will also be competing to earn money for their charity. There will be food trucks and donation jugs at the game for each charity. Their drill teams and dance companies will have a dance-off and accept donations as votes for the crowd’s favorite performance. Raffles and games will also encourage donations from students and parents to show support for their school.

“We are Herriman, and they are Mountain Ridge, but we're still family and still one in heart,” Reading said. “They'll have their whole charity, and, in the end, that's the whole point—that it's all going to a good cause.”

HHS students and their families will be easy to spot in the crowd. They visibly show their support for HHS by wearing specially designed HHS and Hearts of Gold merchandise to charity events.

“It's a tradition—kids love the merch,” Reading said.

This year’s SBO art officers have designed a variety of shirts, hoodies, hats and windbreakers that people can purchase on Instagram @heartsofgold2019 or at the school. All proceeds go to the charity.

The charity season is a busy time for students, with activities nearly every day and night, but they agree Hearts of Gold is their favorite time of year.

“It is totally crazy,” Reading said. “But then every time one of the kids comes [to an event], your heart just melts, and you remember I'm doing this for them, and it's worth it.”

Savanna Tate is honored HHS has chosen to support Hayes Tough families.

“These kids are opening up their hearts and putting forth work that has nothing to do with them,” she said. “They're willing to go all out, put themselves in uncomfortable situations raising money. It's just really telling that these are good kids.”