LARWILL, Ind. (WFFT) — For three Whitko Career Academy students, SODA isn’t just a fizzy drink.
The Student Organ Donation Advocates (SODA) is a group working to save lives.
"We wanted to get more involved in the community too and help out the community, because organ donation is not very heard of," said Chloe Hathaway, who co-founded the WCA chapter. "I didn’t really know much about it until this, and so with SODA, we’re able to educate ourselves and our community."
Hathaway, Brooke Schroeder and Alyson Tucker founded Indiana’s first high school chapter of SODA.
Their instructor Tammy Walter used to work at Lutheran Hospital and was impressed to see her students take up the cause.
"They were all in. They wanted to see what they could do to help spread the awareness," Walter said.
Since forming their chapter in September, the students have helped over 30 people register to be donors.
They say that each individual donor could potentially help save dozens of lives.
"It’s like a gift of life. You can just keep giving the gift of life," Tucker said.
The WCA chapter focuses on registering people to donate healthy organs after they die.
"I’m very inspired by it, and my students are excited about it," Walter said. "They would like to go out and work with other schools to help bring the chapters into other high schools."
And Hathaway hopes upcoming events like the blood drive they have planned for May can help expand their reach.
"Our school is the main [focus] right now, because it’s easier for us to deal with because we’re with them every day," Hathaway said. "But the blood drive, we’re trying to get more involved with the community, because we need to reach more than just our school.
The students have several events planned for the next several weeks in honor of April being National Donor Month.
To learn more about who can register as an organ donor, visit organdonor.gov.
Tammy Walter provided the following list of WCA SODA's upcoming events:
4/12- Flag raising ceremony: We will be raising a Donate Life flag at 10am at WCA. We will have a donor speake, a recipient speake, a pastor pray for all donors and donor families. This will be live streamed so all of the students at the regular high school and anyone else who wants to watch are able to.
4/13-Write a message day: I will be having all of my classes write a message to a donor family.
4/14-Thank a Healthcare Hero: Our Culinary Arts students will be making cookies that will be given to our local healthcare clinic and each one of the school nurses for Whitko Community Schools
4/15-Chalk Art Day: Students will be able to do chalk art on the sidewalks
4/16- Blue & Green Spirit Day- Everyone will wear their blue and green to support organ donation.
4/16-Donuts for Donors- Students that show that they are registered as a donor or sign up to be a donor that day will be given a donut and milk before school.
4/30- WCA Tailgates for Hero's: An outside party with DJ, dance, movie, games, bonfire and food night with a moment of silence for donors.
5/22-Blood drive at WCA