9News (view video) – One day during fall semester, Maddie Hulst had an idea. She wanted to start a service project, not for a grade, not for community service hours, but for a different reason.

“Just cause. Cause why not?” Hulst said. “I was bored on a Tuesday and thought, let’s write a grant. I mean, why not?”

She is a senior at Rock Canyon High School in Highlands Ranch and a member of a program called Link Crew. Link Crew has upperclassmen interact with freshmen throughout the year. Hulst and her classmates applied for and won a $2,500 grant from Sam’s Club. They used the money to purchase materials from JoAnn fabrics — who offered them a price 75 percent reduced. Now, the Link Crew is working with the freshman class to make 300 “tie blankets” to give to homeless families from Douglas County to Denver.

“I mean, gosh, like look at the weather today,” Hulst said. “It’s snowing outside and Colorado is not nice outdoors in the winter.”

Students spend time during a free hour to cut and tie fabric pieces together to make a soft, plush blanket. Teachers like Kristin Karnicki are impressed. She says her students are giving the gift of comfort and warmth.

“With a blanket it kinda helps wrap you up and keep you warm and give you that tight, comfortable feeling,” Karnicki said.

Hulst says this type of project is good for students who live in a relatively-affluent community like Highlands Ranch.

“I think that we kind of tend to forget that there’s other people out there who don’t necessarily have as much as we have and who have been as lucky as we have growing up,” Hulst said.

Karnicki says this is a welcome gesture that can teach kids life lessons.

“That’s what we need from our generations coming up is kids who are concerned and will share their resources with other folks who need more,” Karnicki said.

Hulst says so far the project is going extremely well. Students still have 100 more blankets to make to reach the goal of 300.

“It’s just something that everyone can take away from whether it’s a warm blanket, whether it’s a really good feeling,” Hulst said.

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