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1-4-19 — Season of Giving Extends all Year in Olathe

Jan. 4, 2019 ~ There are many ways for Olathe students and schools to build partnerships in the surrounding community. The recent holiday season was an especially busy one for students as they conducted community service projects to help others. Here is a sample of the broad range of activities that took place in Olathe schools.

Each grade level, the Student Council, and staff at Bentwood Elementary School selected a service project to focus on this year. These ranged from kindergartners collecting bandages for Noah’s Bandage Project to fifth-graders collecting canned goods for Harvesters. First-graders rang bells to help Salvation Army and second-graders held a sock drive to benefit military veterans through Mission Southside. Third grade focused on the Pennies for Shoes campaign of the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund, and Student Council collected hats and mittens for Ridgeview Elementary, their sister school in the district. Staff worked with business partner Impact Church to donate personal care items for Operation Christmas Child. Fourth grade will collect small stuffed animals this spring to help Impact Church’s Baskets of Hope.

The fifth-grade Student Serving Others Club at Black Bob Elementary decorated 30 door wreaths for Homestead Assisted Living, collected fleece to make blankets for the Olathe Police Department, and collected plastic bags to make plastic mats for homeless individuals. The school’s Student Council organized a food drive for Catholic Charities.

In mid-October, every student and staff member at Chisholm Trail Middle School took part in a community service project. These included making fleece blankets and hats, organizing homeless care kits, making cookies, and bagging food for the Something to Eat organization. Groups of students also worked in thrift stores, volunteered for charitable organizations, and did landscaping for Olathe residents.

More than 70 students and parents took part in Green Springs Elementary’s Gracious Gators project to make plastic sleeping mats for homeless individuals, pack hygiene kits, and make handmade cards. The sleeping mats are constructed by linking hundreds of plastic bags together, a very time-consuming project according to the Bed of Bags organization.

Fifth-grade ambassadors at Heritage Elementary School collected gently used and new coats and books for the Johnson County Christmas Bureau. They also sold Boo Pops to raise money for books, and ended up donating more than 1,400 books to the charity.

The Cougar Closet at Indian Trail Middle School was the brainchild of students Meryn Mathis and Kayla Winchel. They presented the idea to business partners and received donations from Mission Southside and the school staff. The girls sorted piles of clothes and helped do laundry, in addition to helping a teacher write a Go Fund Me grant request so they can make the closet more visually appealing. This will be an ongoing community service project.

Mahaffie Elementary School students donated canned meat, hats, lip balm and candy and stuffed them into socks for Project Uplift. The stuff-a-sock project benefits homeless individuals in Kansas City.

National Art Honor Society students from Olathe South High School created art with residents at Cedar Lake Village retirement community. Students taught a watercolor class and created acid-etched bracelets with the residents.

Kennedy Derks, a student at Oregon Trail Middle School, organized a food drive to support the Salvation Army. The grade-level competition was won by seventh grade, which donated more than 350 items and earned a party.

Students in the Y-Club at Scarborough Elementary School packed Thanksgiving meals for Back Snack families, and first-graders counted boxes of bandages for Noah’s Bandage Project.

Sunnyside Elementary student ambassadors led a project to write notes of gratitude for local firefighters. They attached candy to the thank you certificates and read a statement of thanks when delivering them to the fire department.

The Student Council at Walnut Grove Elementary School organized a food drive for Johnson County Christmas Bureau and ended up donating 1,954 items.