BRANDON, S.D. (KELO) — A week of celebration kicks off a year of giving at Brandon Valley High School.
Homecoming isn’t all games and dress up days at Brandon Valley. The district is also starting its annual Tradition of Giving project.
“The idea of taking Homecoming to a whole new level has been something we’ve done for a long time and that Tradition of Giving is just so powerful,” Brandon Valley Superintendent Jarod Larson said.
Each year, the school district identifies, selects, and raises money for an organization in need.
“The idea was brought forward, Veterans Community Project, something relatively new to the area and we really got on board, so it’s the idea of giving back to something bigger than ourselves,” Associate Principal Jordan Paula said.
Veterans Community Project builds tiny homes and helps Veterans get back on their feet.
“The other seniors really liked the idea of knowing exactly where the money was going to and maybe getting to know the individuals that it’s affecting directly and how we can help those people and what it’s done for their lives,” Student Council President Riley Katz said.
Riley Katz is a Senior and Student Council President. She hopes even the district’s youngest students learn from the project.
“A lot of them might think oh this is just a coin drive but getting the bigger picture and realizing what we’re here to do and what our community’s trying to do I think is really important,” Katz said.
VCP Village is currently under construction near Burnside Park in Sioux Falls and will include 25 tiny homes for homeless Veterans.
“The project is currently in the earthwork and underground phase,” VCP Executive Director Eric Gage said.
Eric Gage is Executive Director of Veterans Community Project. He hopes to have five houses completed by the end of the year.
“That first five houses, that’s five veterans off the street,” Gage said.
Gage is also a Brandon Valley graduate.
“Being able to give these kids a physical way to show their thanks to these veterans who’ve given so much to our country and our community is a very exciting skill to be a part of,” Gage said.
And the students are looking to help in a big way.
“The ongoing support of a house is $10,000 and if we could do that throughout this year, I think that would be pretty incredible,” Paula said.
The 25 houses that are scheduled to be built are already sponsored, but there is a long list of additional costs, ranging from landscaping to light poles.