Philly teens promote Gift of Life in their schools

Several high schools brought their classroom projects to the Gift of Life Donor Program to promote organ and tissue awareness.

Steve Tawa
June 02, 2018 - 9:30 pm
Student Organ Donor Project

Steve Tawa | KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Several Philadelphia high schools brought their classroom projects to the Gift of Life Donor Program on North 3rd Street to promote organ and tissue awareness in their schools. 

Bodine High School 16-year old Junior Jay Chen and his friends at Youth Volunteer Corps designed a miniature golf course, shaped like a liver. When he gets his driver's license, he'll talk it over with his family about signing up.

"I want to do it," Chen said, "but I'm not sure that they're on board with it."

Todd Franzen is a supervisor in Gift of Life's Community Relations Department.

"We want to not only reach the students, but the teachers, and ideally, those at home as well - the parents and grandparents," Franzen said.

Gift of Life says 95% people surveyed in the U.S. support organ donation. Franzen points out they're trying to improve Philadelphia's lowest in the Commonwealth donor designation rate.

"It's at about 31%," he said. "And, I know we can do better."

The statewide average is better than 48%. At Saul High School, teacher Mary Creighton's students in a 9th grade health class created Public Service Announcements.

"We posted it to YouTube," she said, "and they had a competition for likes on their video."

Fifteen-year old Tashay says in one of the PSAs, they interviewed people about the benefits.

"I learned that you can save up to seven lives by donating an organ," she said. "And one tissue donor can benefit as many as 75 others."

Gift of Life says it's an urgent public health issue. There are currently about 5,300 people in the region - and 115,000 nationally - waiting for an organ transplant. Twenty people die every day in the U.S. waiting for an organ.