Volunteers Shelby Summers, Ronald Mahan, Ryan Slauglenhaupt, Anna Skudlarek, Kaela James - Copy

MIAMISBURG, Ohio – Stopping child abuse is a cause close to the heart at Miamisburg High School, and so is saving lives through blood donations. Support for both went stride for stride Friday, Nov. 13 as the Vikings hosted the second annual “Unity in the Community Blood Drive.”

The “Unity in the Community” campaign is a partnership between Miamisburg and West Carrollton High Schools, Community Blood Center (CBC) and Universal 1 Credit Union. Universal 1 will award $500 to both schools for hosting CBC blood drives. The schools will combine the awards and present $1,000 to Care House of Dayton community advocacy center for victims of abuse and neglect.

Miamisburg helped this year’s Unity campaign get off to a strong start with 125 registering to donate at Friday’s blood drive, including 88 first-time donors, resulting in 106 blood donations.  West Carrollton will host its Unity in the Community Blood Drive Dec. 4.

The award presentation will take place at the Jan. 22, 2016 Miamisburg-West Carrollton basketball game.  As the host team, it is the MHS Student Government’s turn to name the recipient and the student leaders chose Care House as a favorite cause.

Last April the MHS Student Government raised more than $5,500 for Care House through the second annual Taking Strides for Prevention 5K Run/Walk.  Miamisburg 2012 graduate Cassie Fouch, an abuse victim who received help at MHS, is now an advocate for Care House and abuse prevention.

“The big thing is child abuse awareness,” said Jenny Brockert, MHS Student Government advisor and blood drive coordinator, “Looking for signs of abuse with help from teachers, friends, and ministry through the year.”

Last winter West Carrollton chose the St. Vincent de Paul Family Shelter for Women and Families as the first recipient of a Unity in the Community award and presented the check at the halftime of the Miamisburg-West Carrollton basketball game.

“It really went well at the basketball game,” said MHS Student Government President Megan Schmidt, who helped check-in student donors at Friday’s blood drive with fellow officers Kylie Hayes and Averie Vongsy. “All the kids here want to give to the cause and they want to do more this year.”

“It’s starting to flow,” said Brockert. “They remember what we’ve done and Student Government is spreading the word well.”

“Springboro is more our rival now in sports,” said senior Cameron Johnson, who made his second lifetime donation Friday. “West Carrollton is closer, and doing something together, I think it’s a really good idea.”

Joseph Gray is a senior football player who was able to make his second lifetime donation Friday only because the Vikings’ stellar season had ended the week before in the first round of the state playoffs.  “Football this year was the most special season in my life,” he said. “I’m sad that it’s over, but it’s a great way to go.”

The “Unity in the Community” way of putting rivals on the same side of a winning cause made sense to Joseph. “I think it’s cool,” he said. “Whether it’s on the field or the court, we’re rivals. But we can come together on this for something that really matters.”

A new Unity in the Community campaign is underway this year between traditional rivals Fairmont and Alter High Schools.  Fairmont completed its blood drive Oct. 30 and the Alter blood drive is scheduled Nov. 20.  They will present $1,000 from Universal 1 Credit Union to the Community Summer Food Program by Partners for Healthy Youth in Kettering at the Dec. 22 Alter-Fairmont basketball game.

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