One day Kara Ray came across an article about Kids Care Club, a national program that introduces school aged children to compassion through service learning, and she knew it would be a wonderful after school activity for the students at Stokesdale Elementary. With the help of a few fellow parent volunteers and the PTA, she got the program up and running and the children began doing different activities. While at a Martin Luther King Day volunteer event at Four Seasons Mall, Kara met Parker White and learned about BackPack Beginnings. She knew instantly it would be a perfect fit for Kids Care at Stokesdale.
At their October meeting, over 90 students gathered in the school gym. Their task for an hour and a half was to fill backpacks for BPB’s Comfort BackPack program. The bags go to children who suffer from traumatic situations—foster care, refugee settlement, abuse/neglect or homelessness. Packed bags are taken to various agencies in the area, who then distribute them to children in need. They packed all kinds of items like blankets, personal care items, toys and stuffed animals that the students brought to donate. Over 100 Comfort BackPacks were packed and each contained a card or note that the student colored or wrote.
In addition to packing the bags, Parker spoke to the children about what BPB does for kids. She educated them on the need for the programs and why certain things go in both the Comfort and Food backpacks. The children also broke into small groups and discussed what they had learned and how it affects their community and the people around them. Noah, a third grader said, “I’m sad that there are some children who do not have a home or supplies for school. I had fun helping these children and teenagers get some of the things they need.”
Kara has noticed that since becoming active in the Kids Care Club, the kids at Stokesdale have had a complete attitude evolution. When they first started their projects, the children looked for how the activity or volunteer experience would benefit them. Now, the students understand that there is no physical takeaway; everything is being done for the service of others. The kids had a wonderful time packing the bags and giving back to people their own age. First grader Katie said, “I had fun doing the backpacks. I love helping people. I hope their stuffed animals and other things make them smile.” Because filling the bags made such a powerful impact on the students, Kara hopes to continue Kids
Care’s relationship with BPB and is looking forward to more ways they can help in the future.
Written on 5/20/2013 by Blogger Thea DeLoreto