Boy comes up with ingenious idea to help the homeless by tying coats to trees

He named it Free on a Tree
July 8, 2018 12:44 pm Last Updated: July 8, 2018 12:44 pm

There are many things kids don’t like, things such as, spinach, getting shots, waiting for their parents to finish clothes shopping. But, of all the things that kids hate, homework is the worst offender.

While homework covers a variety of subjects and is given in a variety of ways, that rarely matters when it comes to childhood enjoyment. Homework takes precious time away from watching cartoons and playing video games, and that’s just unacceptable!

Still, assignments award students who put effort into them. Students who recognize this are sure to succeed and perhaps even have a little fun.

Take Oliver Edwards for example. What he did for a school assignment was so original and impressive that it received international attention!

Oliver Edwards started tying coats to trees as part of a school project.

Posted by Free on a Tree on Friday, June 8, 2018

Ten-year-old Oliver Edwards is a student at The Hutchins School on the Australian island of Tasmania. He was assigned to build a community project under the “This Matters Challenge” which his mother, Cathy Edwards, explained to Babble.

“Hutchins has developed a great home study program that replaces traditional homework with the opportunity to direct their own learning in areas of giving, service in… [the] community, physical activity… academic excellence, and excellence in the arts.”

Oliver’s idea was to help the local homeless population by providing them with free coats. His tactic was simple: tying coats to trees alongside a sticker that read “Free on a Tree.”

Since June 6, Oliver and his mom have been working together to collect coats and spread the word.

“We have been designing posters, approaching local businesses, setting up donation points, researching areas of need and of course, hanging lots of coats on trees!” Cathy said.

“So far, we have hung around 55-60 coats on trees and have collected close to 150 coats.”

This “Free on a Tree” program had a community-wide ripple effect.

Posted by Free on a Tree on Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The Edwards don’t just want to tie a bunch of coats to trees to themselves though. They have also been setting up donation points around the area so that others can contribute their coats.

“Already we have around 10 donation points and another 5-6 people interested,” Cathy said.  “The beauty of this idea is that no money needs to exchange hands, although we have had one anonymous donor expressing a wish to financially contribute.

“If this eventuates, we’ll get some more stickers and posters printed!”

All of this might seem simple, and that’s because it is. However, it has proven incredibly effective. Cathy notes, the coats are usually gone by morning, soon after they are placed on the trees.

Posted by Free on a Tree on Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Still,Cathy wanted to stress that, just because a lot of people are taking the coats, doesn’t mean that care and attention shouldn’t be put into how they are hung up.

“We are carefully considering where and how the coats are hung and we often drive back past them, later on, to make sure they still look dry and neat,” she said.

Oliver has gained a lot of respect from this project, and he has learned a lot too.

“He’s …getting a sense of people’s admiration for him and how a simple idea can really have potential to shift people’s thinking and start to make a real difference,” Cathy said.

Oliver clearly put a lot of time and effort into this project. If his teacher doesn’t give him a good grade, that’s entirely on them!

Posted by Free on a Tree on Tuesday, June 12, 2018