By Luci Manning
Some 20 students in Lake Zurich Middle School South’s afterschool woodworking program used their new skills to brighten the holidays for children who have been victims of domestic violence. Over the course of four afternoons, the students sawed, sanded, finished, drilled and assembled 100 toy cars, which were then presented to the nonprofit Caring Women’s Connection as holiday presents for the children. “I know not every family has enough to give $300 minibikes or stuff like that, so it’s nice being able to make stuff for them,” seventh-grader Connor Miltz told the Chicago Daily Herald.
This holiday season, children in need from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Buffalo will have new opportunities to get active and explore the outdoors thanks to a gift from the American Bikers Aimed Toward Education’s Buffalo/Erie chapter. The group is donating 40 bicycles to the club, which will then distribute the bikes to students who excel academically through the organization’s “Bridging the Gap” program. “Kids come to our after-school programs on a daily basis, and many of them are really trying to improve in their academics, and that’s goal of our program,” chief program office Robert Lowery told the Cheektowaga Bee. “Our key is that if they make some improvement academically through our program, that we would provide bikes to these kids.”
Hillsdale High School’s afterschool Sewing Club recently finished a special project of machine-sewn weighted rice bags to donate to early childhood special education students at the Bailey Early Childhood Center. When the young children pile the bags on their laps, it keeps them calm, improves their attention spans and makes it easier for them to stay on task. Club members made colorful designs for the bags and double stitched them to keep them strong. “It’s fun doing things for little kids,” sophomore Ella Lewis told the Hillsdale Daily News. “They are so adorable.” The club also donated ice packs to Gier Elementary School to help with students’ daily bumps and bruises.
Although sisters Judy Allbritton and Debbie Abbott struggled with poverty as children, their neighbors, schoolmates and friends always stepped up to help their family by providing toys and groceries during the holiday season. Now, as adults, they’re paying it forward by hosting a Christmas celebration with nonprofit Life Source International for 100 low-income children and families from northwest Arkansas. More than 150 people attended the free Polar Express-themed party last week, which included story readings, gifts and a visit from Santa. The sisters plan to continue the event as an annual celebration. “We want this to be a magical event that they remember when they’re older,” Abbott told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.