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Kayla Odom and angel tree

Kayla Odom stands next to the angel tree she helped organize to benefit students at Northwest Middle School.

KAYLA ODOM, a graduate student in special education, served her fall semester practicum at Northwest Middle School in Salt Lake City. Her commitment to the students extended well beyond that required for her practicum — she helped raise over $4,000 to pay off student lunch debts.

Northwest Middle School serves many lower-income residents of Salt Lake City. Kayla says, "Many people don’t realize students in their own community need this help. With the school being labeled Title 1, they assume that takes care of everything."

So how did she raise the money? In addition to her studies, Kayla works at Orangetheory Fitness in Trolley Square. Each year, Orangetheory sets up an angel tree in their lobby soliciting donations for worthwhile causes.

This year, Kayla worked with Northwest Middle School to determine the unpaid lunch money balances owed to the school. She created decorations for the tree that represented those balances. Donors could select a decoration and pay off the balance associated with it. Her goal is to pay off all the current lunch money balances at the school for the entire year. So far, she has raised over $4,000 for the school, with one donor making a $2,000 contribution.

Any money raised exceeding that required to pay off the lunch balances will go to the school to be used for student clothing and personal care products.

This effort has proven so successful, that the Orangetheory Fitness location in Sugarhouse decided to do the same for their angel tree.

The College of Education is proud of our committed students who are making a difference. Congratulations Kayla!

Last Updated: 3/15/21