Sturgeon Bay: Students have warm gift for homeless children
Written by Samantha Hernandez, Door County Advocate
The student service learning group at Sunrise Elementary School ended the academic year on a warm and fuzzy note with the donation of 27 fleece blankets and 15 fleece pillows to HELP of Door County and the local Red Cross.
The Sunrise Serves the Community student group works with guidance counselor Belinda Richard during the school year learning about leadership and working on service projects that benefit the community.
The student consensus early on was that they wanted to learn about homelessness, Richard said. The group contacted local organizations to learn all they could about subject.
Christine Salmon, then from the United Way of Door County; Joanne Ator, the county’s Economic Support supervisor; Judy Gregory from the Lakeland Chapter of the American Red Cross; and HELP of Door County youth advocate Jessica Holland all came to talk with the students.
From there, students brainstormed about how they could use what they learned to help others and what they would miss most if they lost their homes, Richard said.
The students decided that kids their age would want something to snuggle or something comfy.
“We decided we should make blankets for homeless children in our area,” student Allison Bridenhagen said. Allison was a fifth-grader at the time.
To raise money for the material, Sunrise Serves the Community hosted an after-school fun event to raise money for the fleece and the school’s Destination ImagiNation team, Richard said.
Walmart donated $50, several staff members donated fabric and Elementary Principal Ann Smejkal also chipped in more than $25 for the project.
The service group also created a short DVD presentation of what they learned from their research and what they would like each third-, fourth- and fifth-grade class in the school to do to help them meet their goal of 12 blankets.
Each class was asked to make one blanket. The group’s goal was exceeded when one class made an additional 10 blankets that they requested be sent to the tornado ravaged Joplin, Mo.
Seeing the entire school get involved with the project “was amazing,” Allison said.
The students also held a bake sale for Japan earthquake relief and raised about $300 that they donated to the Red Cross.
To see the digital story that Sunrise Serves the Community created as part of its service learning project check out the digital story at http://youtu.be/4j2uFmk_xJ4