EHS Groom Room donates to Northern Nevada Moses Project – Elko Daily Free Press


ELKO – High school students showed their support for local foster and at-risk children with a donation to the Northern Nevada Moses Project.

On June 9, members of the Elko High School Groom Room delivered brand new blankets, diapers, baby wipes, hygiene kits, socks, underwear and containers purchased with proceeds from pet photos with the Easter Bunny to the local chapter of the Northern Nevada Moses Project.

The Northern Nevada Moses Project provides new clothes and items to children who are removed from a home by the Division of Child and Family Services and placed in foster care.

The students, who worked in the Groom Room their senior year, initiated two pet photo sessions with the goal of helping other children. In the fall, proceeds from photos with Santa were donated to the Giving Tree.

“We wanted to find a different way to help more kids,” said senior Monse Orozco.

Finding ways to help local youth prompted the students to raise money through their basic grooming business, a senior-year class in the EHS Agriculture and CTE department.

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“We had a conversation about how there are still foster kids who need supplies, and some don’t get those supplies they need and go to homes not having anything. So, we wanted to help some kids and make a difference,” Orozco explained.

This spring, the Groom Room raised about $500 from pet photos with the Easter Bunny to purchase brand new items for the Northern Nevada Moses Project.

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“I think it’s great seeing where these things will go. I mean, we’re all pretty lucky to have what we have, and some kids don’t, so seeing these things go to kids who need it will be great,” said senior Alicia Saldana.

Elishia and Jon Gift are foster parents who started the local Northern Nevada Moses Project branch after seeing a need in rural Nevada.

“A lot of the programs Reno and Las Vegas have aren’t available here,” Elishia said. “A lot of the start-up costs, it’s pretty costly to take in a foster child. They come with nothing sometimes. Sometimes they come with a little bit, but very often, it is stuff that’s not even appropriate. It has stains, holes, or doesn’t fit.”

“So we wanted to be a blessing to our community and give back to these kids, so they have their self-esteem back after losing everything,” she continued. “It’s hard to be torn away from a home, even if it’s not the greatest circumstances, they lose everything they know.”

Elishia added that although clothing doesn’t define self-worth, “the project is to give back their self-worth and who they are. It helps.”

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Since opening their location at 350 Seventh Street, Elishia said they were “amazed at what the community has done. We’ve had a lot of good donors and a lot of corporations that have stepped up and wanted to help.”

They also were grateful to the Groom Room students for their donation.

“We’re super thankful to these kids who took time and were generous and giving and went the extra mile with what they had and knew,” Elishia said.

Homeless and at-risk teens can also reach out to the Moses Project for items, Elishia added.

Cassie Wylie, a detective with the Elko Police Department, is a board member of the local chapter of the Moses Project. She said she supports the project by raising awareness about it in the community. “Children are near and dear to my heart.”

“Anything I can do to help, because like Elishia said, these kids lose everything, and they come with nothing, and we want to make sure the experience they remember is positive, and they experience compassion,” Wylie continued. “That’s what we’re trying to do is give them things every child should have.

Orozco said she hopes the tradition started by her Groom Room class will continue with future students.

“We’re all seniors. This is the last project we’re going to be able to do, and hopefully, we inspire some more people to keep doing stuff like this and keep helping other people,” Orozco said.

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