Sarah Haavisto, a kindergarten teacher at the Minnehaha Elementary school in Two Harbors, talked with Healthy Northland about Socktober — their exciting and warm way to celebrate Halloween this year. Here she is holding a basket full of socks at the start of their sock drive. By Oct. 31, the school collected 1,000 pairs of socks!
HN: Tell us a bit about yourself and your role at the Minnehaha.
SH: I’ve been teaching for eight years. My career began in teaching special education and now, for the last two years, I’ve been teaching kindergarten. I love it! It’s such a good time to really teach kids to be a part of their community at school and their neighborhood community.
HN: Tell me about Socktober.
SH: Socktober was started by Kid President creator Brad Montangue four years ago. Socks are the least donated item to homeless shelters and clothing shelves; we often don’t think about donating them. So we’re holding Socktober here this year. We’re encouraging families to send new socks to school instead of treats.
HN: So this is a school-wide event.
SH: It is!
HN: Who decided to combine it with Halloween?
SH: We had a parent of fourth-grader ask if we’d consider doing something different than a treat for Halloween. So all the teachers got together and brainstormed ideas. We considered doing a canned food drive but we already do one in December. I knew about Socktober and wanted to try it some time. I brought it up and the teachers liked the idea.
We sent home flyers and are working with the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency to distribute the socks.
In addition to new socks, we’re asking for gently used winter clothes to have on hand in the classrooms.
HN: How has the response been so far (October 19)?
SH: Today six pairs of socks came in! (By October 31st, we had well over 1,000 pairs of socks in all different sizes. We’re so excited to share them with our community.)
HN: What would you tell other teachers who are considering doing something unconventional?
SH: Be willing to step outside your comfort zone and try something. The best that happens is you teach your kids to be involved in their community and do something good at the same time.