Professor Norm Zurn, who teaches Communication 1010 classes at Salt Lake Community College, has come up with a fun way to raise money, awareness and donations for a good cause.
Each of his three classes are competing against one another to see who can collect the most food or money for the Odyssey House. The classes will also come up with creative marketing strategies to bring awareness to the organization as well as encourage ongoing outside donations.
Rachel Santizo, an SLCC student and Odyssey House recovery outreach specialist, is thrilled about the project.
“Odyssey House is the largest treatment facility in Utah. We operate from a therapeutic stance, addressing the actually behaviors leading up to the using of alcohol and drug misuse,” she says.
Not only is Santizo involved as a student and employee, but she went through Odyssey House residential treatment herself in 2012 after battling a heroin addiction, becoming homeless and losing custody of her children.
“I lived in their facility for a year in 2012 and I have been sober since. It was challenging, but I feel that is what makes their process work. [Odyssey House] gave me the opportunity to address my personal issues head on, in the amount of time I needed to be successful,” she says.
Since Odyssey House, Santizo has become an advocate for the homeless, addicted and incarcerated. She also regained custody of her two children and decided to go to college this year.
“I am constantly trying to grow and become a better person,” she says.
Staci Solomon is one of the class leaders for the project whose group is making a short film featuring some of those patients at the Odyssey house to encourage donations.
“We were so touched by their stories and we wanted people to hear their stories as well,” she says.
Zurn is as much a participant as his students, and has a personal goal of $5,000 worth of materials for the Odyssey House. He has personally contacted a local Patagonia outerwear store for donations, as well as sporting goods store Scheels, and even larger brand names like Adobe.
Adobe representative Christopher Parkin joined the COMM 1010 classes Oct. 3 to inform students that Adobe will be matching some charitable donations for the Odyssey House.
Though the fundraiser competition will last the duration of the fall 2019 semester, Zurn’s classroom is already full of bags of donations. Representatives from Odyssey House will pick up donations around 3 p.m. every Thursday from LAC 116 at Taylorsville Redwood Campus.
The fundraiser is focused on Christmas. Desired items include boots, shoes, dress clothes for men and women, ties, undergarments, hats, gloves, hoodies, belts, jeans and toys.
Anyone who would like to contribute can bring items to LAC 116 before 3 p.m. on Tuesdays or Thursdays, make a monetary donation or drop off items to any of Odyssey House’s multiple locations.