Many families take buying baby necessities such as diapers, baby wipes and pacifiers for granted.
But some families struggle to afford these items.
A group of seventh-graders at Sioux Center Middle School took it upon themselves to help out these families as their May Term project. They collected donations of various baby items and packed 20 Baby Bundles full of the necessary items. They donated the bags to Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center to provide to moms who have a special need for the items after the birth of their baby.
Seventh-grade teacher Jill Harskamp said it has been fun watching the students work as a group and interact with adults in the community on the project.
“They are really loving the opportunity to do something beyond themselves and beyond our classroom walls,” she said. “For many, it’s the first time they’ve had the opportunity to volunteer their time and talents for others, and I hope this is just the springboard for volunteer opportunities in the future.”
As part of the May Term projects in the middle school, each seventh-grade student was asked to research local ministries or nonprofit organizations and choose one that they wanted to earn support for. Each student then wrote a persuasive essay and gave a presentation to their classmates as to why their organization was worthy to be selected for support.
The class then took a vote, and Promise was selected as the organization of choice for one of the seventh-grade’s four sections.
Chris Trejo was the student who persuaded his classmates to support Promise. He said he wasn’t expecting such a positive response to his presentation from his classmates and was surprised to have his cause selected.
But he is glad it was.
“Promise does so much for the community,” Trejo said. “They help families. They give kids health care.”
Each seventh-grade section was given $100 in seed money from various donation sources to start their project. Derrick Vander Waal, the public relations officer for Promise, came to speak to the students about the health center and offered various ideas for projects.
The students then chose putting together Baby Bundles as their project.
The seventh-graders compiled a list of needed baby items. They brought in items, they sought donations from students in the other grades at the middle school, they placed a donation box at Interstates in Sioux Center and they purchased some items.
By the end of six days, the group of students had enough items to fill 20 large gift bags today (Thursday, May 24). They also provided Promise a box of leftover items to use to supplement other Baby Bundles in the future.
“It was a really good project because it will help a lot of people,” Trejo said. “It was really fun doing it. People were really getting along with the project.”
Harskamp was impressed by the initiative the students took with the project. They discussed amongst themselves and decided what project they wanted to do. They also determined how they were going to go about accomplishing their goals based on the financial and human resources they had available.
She said the process has been good for them.
“The students are learning to work as a team and, in many cases, to resolve conflicts within that team,” she said. “There has been a lot of give and take in order to accomplish their goals. They have also had to communicate with many adults within our community, and it teaches them how to communicate effectively. Most importantly, though, it has opened their eyes to the needs within their own community, and I hope it gives them a better understanding of and appreciation for the community in which we live – as well as a desire to continue supporting those who may have needs.”
Promise appreciated the students’ effort on the project.
“We are so thankful to the students,” Vander Waal said. “It was a wonderful project. The Baby Bundles will be a big blessing for families who don’t have many resources to buy these items. This was a great way for the students to give back to the community.”
BABY BUNDLE ITEMS:
Here are the items that the Sioux Center Middle School seventh-grade group packed into each Baby Bundle that it donated to Promise Community Health Center:
The Sioux Center Middle School seventh-graders also hung up many posters throughout the school to promote Promise Community Health Center’s seventh annual Wellness on Wheels Bicycle Ride (WOW7) as a side May Term project. WOW7 is planned for Saturday, June 3, as part of Sioux Center Celebration Days. To learn more, read this story: https://promisechcnews.blogspot.com/2017/04/wow7-offers-four-great-bicycle-routes.html.