HOSA team tackling homelessness in community awareness project


Photo courtesy Pooja Cheruku

Sophomores Pooja Cheruku and Laasya Madana collect the donations they received through their drive held on Jan. 13. All donations, including clothes and toiletries will be donated to the Salvation Army in order to raise awareness for the issue of homelessness.

Anthony Cesario, Staff Writer

For sophomores Pooja Cheruku and Laasya Madana, the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) club at Coppell High School gives them an opportunity to learn more about healthcare and medicine.


This month, they are one of the club teams participating in the HOSA National Competitive Events program, a series of healthcare related competitive events, under the community awareness category.


Cheruku and Madana decided to raise consciousness of an issue that, in their opinion, is highly underlooked in the local area: homelessness.


“When people think of homelessness, Dallas usually isn’t what first comes to mind,” Cheruku said. “However, homelessness and poverty is an issue that is greatly affecting this city, and the world as a whole. We chose this topic to raise awareness about the true magnitude of this problem in our city today.”


To participate in the HOSA competitive events, each team has a specific set of necessary tasks to complete in order to qualify. Teams competing in the community awareness category are required to build a portfolio, which includes a documentation of the activities conducted to promote the cause.


Cheruku and Madana held a donation drive for the Salvation Army on Jan. 13 in the Grand Homes neighborhood in Irving and also plan on volunteering at the North Texas Food Bank.


“Thousands of people [in Dallas] are barely scraping past with no financial security whatsoever,” Madana said. “Our goals are to hold several donation drives and other activities so that we would be able to provide resources and support for the impoverished families.”


There are three levels to the 2018 HOSA competitions, which are all held in the Dallas area this year. The first round, area, held in Irving from Feb. 9-10, includes 66 high schools from North Texas in cities such as Plano, Frisco and Allen. Teams that progress past area will advance to state, held at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine from April 13-15, and then to the internationals held in downtown Dallas at the end of June.


“The goal of HOSA is for students who want to go into healthcare or are interested in medicine to have a group of like minded kids to get involved with in the school and in the community,” HOSA club sponsor Suzanne Tucker said. “After [the students] finish competing, they have this set of skills to be able to take with them and use in the future.”


According to Tucker, the benefits of participating in the HOSA club and competitions are numerous. Students can improve their leadership, teamwork, speaking and presentational skills and community involvement, among other aspects.


In addition, both Cheruku and Madana learned through this community awareness project how big of an issue homelessness and poverty truly is in the Dallas area.


“This project gives us an opportunity to work with other people in our community, including other students, to make a difference,” Cheruku said.

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