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August 21, 2023

For information on enrollment and registration at Notre Dame, an independent, Catholic, International Baccalaureate school, please visit the admissions section of our website here.

Student Erin Delaney's official International Baccalaureate Personal Project requirement becomes an extension of her longtime service project benefiting Grace Centers of Hope. 

Notre Dame Prep junior Erin Delaney works on organizing items that go into much-needed toiletry bags, which eventually are delivered to Grace Centers of Hope in Pontiac.

When junior Erin Delaney was contemplating which direction she should take her International Baccalaureate Personal Project last school year, she began to brainstorm projects like every other IB-MYP student. 

In her case, however, her brainstorming didn't last very long.

That's because Delaney quickly arrived at an idea that fit perfectly with a "personal project" she'd already been working on for the last couple of years.

"For my IB project, I landed on doing a bottle and can return drive as a way to help fund the latest and largest round of my ongoing work with Grace Centers of Hope," she said. 

You see, for the last two years, Delaney has been providing hundreds of desperately needed toiletry bags to homeless shelters and other nonprofits, including Grace Centers of Hope, a faith-based, long-term life skills program based in Pontiac for those afflicted by homelessness, chemical dependency and abuse in southeast Michigan. 

"I decided to donate to Grace because I really like the way they run their program since they not only help their own residents in need, they also partner with other shelters in our area," she said. "I also donated my second round of bags to Grace back in 2021, so I was excited to be able to help them again."

Getting ready to drive hundreds of toiletry bags to Grace Centers of Hope.

Helping others in need comes quite naturally for Delaney and for fellow students at Notre Dame Prep. It's part of the school's DNA and part of every mission-driven student's DNA, according to Delaney, who lives with her family in Lake Orion.

"Part of being a student at NDP means fulfilling the mission inside and outside of school," she said. "My project clearly follows the 'Christian people and upright citizens' part of our mission. A major part of being an upright citizen and a Christian person includes helping those who are currently suffering in one’s community. I’m so grateful to have this platform that allows me to live out our school mission."

Through Delaney's IB Personal Project, she said she was better able to understand the homeless in her community and how she can help them. The bottle drive portion of her project was a huge success, producing enough funds to make many more bags, which inspired her to do even more. 

"That gave me the confidence to continue doing larger and larger rounds and that led to the donation of over 340 toiletry bags this year!" she added, noting that other people in the area also really stepped up during these past few months. 

"My community has always been so supportive of this project from the second I launched it, but everyone was especially helpful this year. For the past two years I’ve used social media to gain donations, and this year I decided to do an Amazon Wishlist."

After publishing the Amazon list, Delaney instantly started getting notifications that items were being purchased. There were, in fact, so many generous people who donated extra items that weren’t even on the list that she went over her initial goal of making 300 bags.

Delaney attended last week's YMCA Michigan Youth in Government 2023 Delegation Leadership Retreat at Camp Arbutus Hayo-Went-Ha in Traverse City​​​ with NDP senior Michael Kenny, left, along with Matthew Kafarski NDP'25 and Laura Schmidt NDP'24. Delaney also is a member of the Irish varsity tennis team.

Now looking forward to her junior year at NDP, Delaney, who is a member of Student Council, the National Honor Society, Michigan Youth in Government and works as a student ambassador, is totally glad she decided to come to Notre Dame Prep.

"My experience at Notre Dame has been absolutely amazing," she said. "In the short two years that I’ve been a student here, I’ve grown so much both academically and spiritually through different campus ministry activities, such as being a peer leader, and I can't wait to see what the next two years bring!"

For information on enrollment and registration at Notre Dame, an independent, Catholic, International Baccalaureate school, please visit the admissions section of our website here.

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Follow Notre Dame on Twitter at @NDPMA.

About Notre Dame Preparatory School 
Notre Dame Preparatory School is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. Notre Dame Preparatory School's upper school enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame Prep's middle and lower schools enroll students in pre-kindergarten through grade eight. All three schools are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the National Association of Independent Schools. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School, visit the school’s home page at