Pentucket’s SODA: What It’s All About

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Lauren Arnold, Writer

The Student Organ Donation Advocates (SODA) Chapter at Pentucket is a new and upcoming club here at the high school. Many students, varying from freshmen to seniors, have joined the club within the past few months and are making an impact in our community already.

What is SODA

SODA is a nationwide organization that aims to educate, inspire, and provide students with resources for organ donation. SODA has over 30 chapters across the country, from small high schools to big universities. SODA at Pentucket High school is one of the chapters.

SODA is currently led by seniors Emily Gould, Libby Jackson, and Jessica Romano. Although the circumstances this year have not been ideal for the three to begin a club, they have made the best and created the most out of the situation.

Gould explains her hopes as Pentucket SODA President, stating, “Our goal is not to force people to become donors or scare people with statistics, but to show as many people as we can how organ donation saves lives and how they can contribute to saving lives as well.”

Many young people are uneducated about organ donation and do not know how to register as an organ donor or how greatly one can impact someone else’s life by registering. SODA wants to change this by providing accessible information on organ donation and showing the importance of making the generous decision to become a donor. 

How It Began

The process of creating this club began last summer. As an incoming senior of the Class of 2021, Gould had extra time on her hands to be able to invest her time into something she is passionate about: organ donation.

Organ donation overall has a very special place in Gould’s heart. She has been a part of the organ donation community for quite a while, since her dad had a double lung transplant 10 years ago. Gould explained, “When I learned about SODA, I instantly knew that there was a need at our school.”

However, actually establishing a chapter was not simple. It was not only Mr. Seymour, principal at Pentucket, that Gould had to seek approval from, but also an entire application process through SODA. 

Gould explained, “SODA is particular about their chapter. Before they gave us the green light, they wanted to be sure that we would be successful in portraying such an important message.” She also had to find an academic advisor for the club.

Once Gould was approved by SODA and Seymour to begin a chapter, she got to work with Jackson, Romano, and advisor Mrs. Ward to begin assembling members.

What is Happening Now

SODA has continued to grow with new members throughout the school year. Jackson described the process of bringing in new members over the course of the past several months, explaining, “We essentially just have to spread the word by telling our friends and using social media to our advantage.” Social media has made a great difference in bringing awareness to the club.

Photo Source: SODA Pentucket Chapter

For the past several months, Pentucket’s SODA has been holding Zoom meetings every other Monday. Club members are able to join, listen, and participate in these meetings as well as bring new and fun ideas together.

Last month, Pentucket’s SODA held a raffle on their social media platforms (Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter) for a Dunkin’ gift card. Additionally, this previous month, Pentucket’s SODA had a guest speaker from New England Donor services speak to its members over Zoom.  

What is Happening Next

Pentucket’s SODA has high hopes for the future. With the school year wrapping up and seniors graduating soon, SODA’s current leadership is saying their farewells. Nonetheless, SODA will continue to progress after the seniors leave.

Gould says, “We are not yet sure who will make up next year’s leadership team, but I have spoken to some underclassmen that are interested in carrying on SODA after we leave.”

Additionally, Pentucket’s SODA team members are looking to create comfort blankets in collaboration with New England Donor Services for donor families as soon as funds are available. 

Of course, for funds to come in, fundraising needs to be done. Gould says that a fundraiser is on the horizon for SODA, too.

Jackson left a final message as we wrapped up our interview: “Join SODA!”