Hurricane Michael left Dothan with damage that could take years for the city to restore. However students at Dothan High School have taken the restoration of the campus and surrounding community into their own hands.
The DHS Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) chapter spent their day off from school on campus clearing debris that had fallen during the storm.
As the chapter closes in on its 100,000 volunteer hour mark, SADD member and DHS senior Lauren Beauchamp said there’s no better way she can think of the utilize the last 2,000 hours than restoring her school and surrounding community.
“It’s important to clean up our campus because it reflects our school. We’re proud of our campus and we want it to reflect who we are as people,” said Beauchamp.
Chris Payne, the high school’s SADD chapter advisor, said he is immensely proud of his students who took the initiative to help the community even before the storm rolled through.
“I had students asking me what they could do even before Michael hit,” said Payne, “It just makes me so proud that these kids have taken the responsibility of their community into their own hands. When I first started the club we were so small, and now our community knows we are a resource for them to go to when they need help. I’m so proud.”
SADD works to give students the tools to prevent students from engaging in destructive decisions such as drug and alcohol abuse as well as various other behaviors. Volunteer service to the community is not at the core of the club’s mission; however, Payne said he has found it gives teens a sense of purpose or a place to go when they feel the need to abuse drugs or alcohol.
The club at Dothan High now has the most students involved in the organization in the nation that maintain a C average in school or better and refrain from drugs and alcohol to continue their membership.
In order for the organization to continue in spreading its message to the community’s youth, the chapter has created a fundraiser called “Dine Out Dothan” on Oct. 25, in which a portion of the profits from meals purchased at 14 restaurant locations around Dothan goes to the chapter. For more information on the event, visit dothanhighschoolsadd.weebly.com.