Students give out Valentines at local shelters

Feb. 14, 2013 @ 05:45 PM

Students at the Welborn Middle School Academy of Science and Technology received a lesson in loving deeds Thursday when they presented the Salvation Army with care packages.
The supply drive for the Salvation Army’s homeless shelter was initiated by girls in the school’s ROSES club. The girls, ranging from sixth to eighth grade, helped fill 100 bags with toiletries and other necessities.
“We decided to identify an area that we could make a difference in, and that was homelessness,” said Sophia McDougal, reading specialist and organizer at the school. “We realize that we are affected tremendously. We even have students here that are homeless. We want to know how we can help them and make a difference.”
The “bags of hope” are part of a schoolwide service-learning project. Students have been learning about the causes of homelessness in their classes and ways they can help.
“Everybody participates, and donations came from everywhere,” McDougal said. “A lot of people have been wanting to help and give. Visiting the shelter today was an awesome experience. When they walked past those rooms and bunk beds, bookbags and small shoes, it hit home for them. They have a bigger picture of it now.”
Students also had the opportunity to tour the facility and learn more about the Salvation Army and the ways it assists homeless families. Keanu Barnes, an eighth grader, said the trip to the shelter was an eye-opening experience.
“I felt that it was needed, because you never know what someone is going through,” Barnes said. “It really taught me a lot, because you can be one paycheck away from being homeless. You have to do good deeds, and this was one of them.”
The school partnered with Williams Memorial C.M.E. Church Women’s Day Committee to collect supplies to go in the bags. They included toothpaste, toothbrushes, lotion and other basic items that those who are less fortunate may need.
“I am pleased to know that we are teaching our students to help others,” said Naquita Brewington-McCormick. “I think that giving them the teaching piece gives them that understanding and ability to recognize that these things do happen, but there are ways for them to overcome certain things. I am excited that Welborn will be a place to go when people have a need.”
The school will partner with the church and Living Community Church, its faith-based partners, to continue to getting toiletries and supplies for those in need. | 888-3657