Help Homeless Veterans with Highlands Genius Hour Project

Highland Veterans Project
Shawnee Mission School District

Davis Eakes, sixth grader at Highlands Elementary, is passionate about helping homeless veterans and he invites the community to support his efforts. Eakes is collecting items at Highlands Dec. 16-19 to build snack bags and hygiene kits that he will deliver to veterans.

Items needed include:

  • Shampoo
  • Deodorant
  • Hygiene products (toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, etc.)
  • Hot Hands
  • Non-perishable Protein Items (beef jerky or sticks, spam, tuna or chicken in pop-top cans)
  • Granola/Protein Bars
  • Food Pantry Items (non-perishable, no glass)

Eakes became interested in this specific cause when his teacher, Marie Hooker, challenged him to dig deeper when he selected homelessness as one of his Genius Hour topics. Genius Hour is a project in which students identify, research, present, and reflect about a topic of interest.

As Eakes did additional research, he discovered one-third of homeless people are veterans.

“Currently there are 200 homeless veterans in our community and that is crazy to me,” Eakes exclaimed.

Next, he visited the Veterans Community Project and toured the Tiny Houses. His visit gave him the inspiration for his Genius Hour project.

He presented his project to his class and shared flyers with all students and classrooms at Highlands promoting donations.

“Davis has been so organized and engaged in his efforts,” Hooker said. “Particularly, at this time of year, it is wonderful to see how one person can make a difference.”

Community members are invited to drop items off at the office at Highlands Elementary, 6200 Roe from December 16-19. Questions may be directed to Marie Hooker at