The senior at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School in Sandy Springs recently orchestrated a coat drive for the less fortunate, his second in as many years. Consider it the 18-year-old’s way of helping the downtrodden keep warm during what has been a harsh winter by metro Atlanta standards. “A lot of people are stuck on the street. … This is just my way of trying to make things a little better for them,” said Myer. Imperative to the task at hand as part of a charitable endeavor like this is getting others involved — in this case the Holy Innocents’ student body. To date, Myer has not failed on that front. “One day last year it was really cold outside and I saw a homeless person without a jacket on,” Myer recalled. “I went and got a couple of old coats in the back of our closets and then I asked my peers to do the same.
“We’re blessed with so much. … We see the problem; we can do something about it and we should.”
Myer’s drive a year ago yielded 80 coats and blankets. His 2014 effort, which ended last month, produced 200. The coat drive’s primary beneficiaries are residents of the Open Door Community.
The residential nonprofit outfit — billed as a Protestant/Catholic worker house — serves the homeless and operates a prison ministry from its base on Ponce de Leon Avenue in Atlanta’s Poncey-Highland community.
Myer, a volunteer there, credits an awareness rooted in a family history of community service as his guiding light. “It’s just something I grew up with, watching my parents [get involved] in some cause or another,” he said. Myer has his share of supporters. “I am extremely proud of this remarkable young man,” said Gerard Gatoux, one of Myer’s teachers at Holy Innocents’. “His unselfishness is a rare and notable characteristic in such a young person. I often think of him as a Renaissance man. ... His numerous accomplishments in school, on the field, in his community and in the world demonstrate his amazing capacity to lead [and] excel academically, athletically and artistically.”
Unlike those who give from a distance, though, the aspiring doctor prefers face time with those he’s helped.
“Seeing them get their [donated] coats … is just empowering,” he said. “And when I [volunteer] I talk to people on the street. … It’s not just charity work; it’s treating everybody with respect the way you would anybody else.”