Students in Valley Pathways’ leadership class are working to help community members and peers in need.

For the second time this school year they organized a blood drive and a bone marrow drive. On Friday, about 50 students — twice as many as the previous drive— showed up to donate.

The leadership class also does community service projects like raising money for the Mat-Su Animal Shelter and MyHouse, a Wasilla nonprofit that works with homeless teens.

Valley Pathways is an alternative school in Palmer and staff said many of their students struggle with homelessness and other challenges.

Junior Cheyenne Lofstrom said the blood drive’s high turnout shows the students’ difficult circumstances don’t stop them from giving back to others.

“There are kids that are even almost deathly afraid of needles and stuff and they still tried to donate because they know how important it is and there’s a life out there that really needs that,” Lofstrom said.

Freshman Aurora Dias was too young to donate blood but said she loved helping to organize the event because it makes a huge difference.

The leadership class is planning to host a clothing drive and start a food bank to help their peers as well.

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