Hygiene Kits for Homeless Youth in Idaho

 

Idaho teen helps homeless youth to earn Eagle Scout honor Imagine being homeless. Imagine going to school each day without using hygiene supplies, like deodorant or shampoo. There are more than 4,500 homeless youth who face this challenge each day in the Boise, Idaho, area. Boy Scout Justin Detwiler, 14, became an Eagle Scout, in part, by helping these struggling students. In April, Detwiler, an eighth grader at West Junior High in Boise, teamed up with United Way of Treasure Valley to lead a large volunteer project to assemble ‘hygiene kits,’ which are backpacks filled with items like deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste and soap. After a call for donations of hygiene items aired on local radio stations, supplies poured in by the truckload, literally, filling the Detwiler family’s garage. One hygiene kit provides about a month’s supply of hygiene supply and is valued at around $20. Detwiler’s goal was to create at least 750 kits. With 60 volunteers who contributed 330 service hours, Detwiler created more than 950 kits, equaling nearly $20,000 in donations. “I really felt like I helped people and helped make a difference,” said Detwiler, whose father Mike and older brother Trevor are both Eagle Scouts. United Way of Treasure Valley distributed the hygiene kits to nearly 10 school districts around southwestern Idaho. From large school districts with thousands of students to small ones with only a few hundred, the hygiene kits helped students far and wide. Some of the kits were delivered to an elementary school in Kuna, a small, rural community about 20 miles southwest of Boise. After receiving the kits and distributing some to students in desperate need, a school social worker told local sheriff’s deputy Mark Hudson, formerly a student resource officer for the school, how grateful she was to be able to hand out hygiene kits to struggling children and families. Hudson, who serves as a Varsity Assistant Scout Master, asked where the hygiene kits came from. The school social worker told him a Boy Scout from Troop 76. A smile crossed Hudson’s face. Hudson is a close family friend of the Detwilers and attend the same Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Hudson wasn’t involved with the project, but he was aware of Detwiler’s goal to create hygiene kits to help local students. “It got me excited to be like, hey, we can do some really meaningful Eagle Scout projects by connecting with the right people and directing these boys to show them what kind of impact they can have,” Hudson said. A TV reporter interviewed Detwiler and his mom, Kris, about the project. The story aired on the nightly news in Boise. After fulfilling all of his obligations and services, the Boys Scouts of America named Detwiler an Eagle Scout in September. Detwiler received letters from United States Senators, Representatives and the Idaho Governor, congratulating him on his commitment to serve his community. “Justin helped make a difference for hundreds of local students who struggle,” said Nora Carpenter, CEO and president of United Way of Treasure Valley. “He is an inspiring young man, and through his work with the Boys Scouts of America, Justin showed he cares about his fellow youth.”

Justin Detwiler and his helpers assembled ‘hygiene kits,’ which are backpacks filled with items like deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste and soap. He called for donations on local radio stations, which brought in truckloads of products.

One hygiene kit provides about a month’s supply of hygiene supply and is valued at around $20. Justin’s goal was to create at least 750 kits. With 60 volunteers who contributed 330 service hours, he created more than 950 kits, equaling nearly $20,000 in donations.

United Way of Treasure Valley distributed the hygiene kits to nearly 10 school districts around southwestern Idaho. From large school districts with thousands of students to small ones with only a few hundred, the hygiene kits helped students far and wide.

— Justin Detwiler, Troop 76, Boise, Idaho

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