We wrapped up our month long blanket service project this week. It's hard to believe this was our 9th year making blankets for others. As many of you know, making no sew fleece blankets was the project that led to KindCraft. Here we are pictured below, December 2015, making blankets alongside neighbors and friends. This project sparked the idea for a monthly "club" that would meet to do service projects that were appropriate for young children since it was hard to find ways to include kids in volunteer oppoortunites. Since this day in December, we have been hosting monthly service projects for families with young kids. We do a variety of projects, but making blankets is a tradition we will continue annually.
Student Ambassador Leadership Opportunity
One of our goals this year has been to find ways to give our older kids more leadership opportunities within the organization. Since many of these kids have made blankets for several years, we offed them the opportunity to lead their own blanket event. Student Ambassadors completed an application for some blanket kits, provided by KindCraft.
We had four Student Ambassadors follow through with the application process. Ainsley Arthur led a blanket event with her friends; Tyler Reynolds led his sister's softball team, the Crushers, in making blankets; and brothers Liam and Connor McKinley, along with help from older scouts prepared blankets for the Kindness Crew at Sunnyside Elementary school to tie.
Tyler Reynolds led his younger sister and the Crushers Softball team in making no sew fleece blankets (pictured above).
Liam and Connor McKinely and the Sunnyside Kindness Crew made 12 blankets for this project. Older Scouts and adults helped prepare the blankets ahead of time for the youngest students.
School Blanket Projects
Often times we receive requests from local schools looking to work together. We are a very small team, led purely by volunteers, and we simply don't have the resources to provide supplies outside of our monthly projects. Last year, however, we received a generous donation from Scheels Overland Park and combined that with a great sale on fleece from Joann's fabric to purchase LOTS of fleece.
Our hope was that we would be able to not only meet the request of a few schools to partner in a service project, but also that maybe we would be able to target kids who are typically on the receiving end of donated gifts from others. Many of the families we donate to live right here in our own communitities. We feel that its important for these kids to be able to take part in giving to others. You don't have to just have money or resources to give love to others. The feeling you get when you do something kind for others is something that every child should experience.
We had 11 applications for this grant and we are happy to say we were able to provide blanket kits for all 11 schools!
Olathe School District
We were pleasantly surprised to have an Olathe high school student from OATC apply! Charley Murphy applied and was granted 5 blanket kits to make with her classmates. Charley has been doing projects with KindCraft for 8 years now and she is truly a wonderful volunteer. Despite it being the end of a busy semester, and her overcoming being sick, she was able to lead a group in making these blankets.
Led by their teacher Dara Tyler, students from Indian Trail Middle School in the Olathe Public Schools District made 15 blankets that were donated to Mission Southside.
STUCO sponsor and language arts teacher at Frontier Trail Middle School, Nicole Miller, led students in making 10 no sew fleece blankets for our 9th Annual No Sew Fleece Blanket event this year!
Kay Club students from the Chisholm Trail Middle School in the Olathe Public Schools District made 6 no sew fleece blanket at one of their meetings before school. Thank you for leading this project at your school Kim Russell.
Blue Valley School District
Jennifer Mulholland, school counselor at Morse Elementary, explained in her application that Morse makes community service a priority. "Each grade level completes their own project that helps our students grow as kind people. We also complete community service projects with our younger grade level buddies. Our goal is to help students learn the value of being aware of the needs of others and take action. We regularly donate to Mission Southside as a school community." Their fifth grade clas of 75 students made 20 blankets for us!
These Blue Valley students also contributed to our project.
Rooted Life Academy is a "microschool"- a nontraditional educational option for the area. In her application for blanket kits, Becky McNichols wrote, "We are all about children learning and growing in positive ways where they can also give back to the community. We want the students to learn about caring about others and helping serve others. This project is a great opportunity for our children to participate in an activity where they are caring for others in a similar age range in a very tangible way." These young kiddos made 5 blankets for KindCraft.
De Soto School District
22 students from Lexington Trails Middle School made 11 blankets for our 9th Annual No Sew Fleece Blanket Service Project. Kay Club Sponsor, Molly Kennedy, was thankful for the opportunity to make blankets with her students.
She said, "As a sponsor of this Kansas Association for Youth group, I am always looking for ways to serve our surrounding community without leaving the building. Making blankets has come up as a service project to complete; however, we don't have the materials to do the project." KindCraft was happy to be able to provide the materials!
Led by PTA secretary Jan Kelly, 30 students from Monticello Trails Middle School in the De Soto School District helped to make blankets for our 9th Annual No Sew Fleece Blanket service project. Love this picture of your completed blankets!!
Spring Hill School District
Led by school counselor Mark Shreve, Forest Spring Middle School National Junior Honor Society students made 14 blankets.
Gardner Edgerton School District
Fourth Grade students from Moonlight Elementary in the Gardner Edgerton School District partnered with students from their Communications program to create blankets to donate as part of KindCraft's 9th annual blanket event. Some of these students are nonverbal-didn't stop them from showing kindness to others. Thank you Paula Athey for leading this project!
KindCraft's Monthly Event
Our in person event was a blast. This year we had 110 attendees who came out to make their blankets. Beautiful setting with the lighted park outside of the Olathe Community Center. We also had about 20 Student Ambassadors who helped facilitate the event.We are so thankful for all of you who came out tonight!!
Olathe Northwest Event
High school students from Olathe Northwest High School made 39 blankets at their in person event. Led by English teacher and leader Raven Flight Corps, Jami Jo Paugh and parent Sheri Wilson students gathered together one night after school and made blankets for Mission Southside's Christmas store. There were about 30 students in attendance!
Several KindCraft volunteers delivered blankets to the various nonprofits, Stephanie Morrison and her daughter Caroline delivered blankets to The Shadow Buddies Foundation. Jenny DeCico delivered blankets to Sunflower House. Tiffany Zerr delivered blanekts to Children's Mercy Hospital, and KindCraft president Courtney Smith delivered blankets to Mission Southside and Kids TLC.
Mission Southside Field Trip
One unique opportunity that stemmed from this service project was a field trip to Mission Southside. They took a group over to their facility to drop off their blankets and to get a tour! One of our goals is to introduce kids to a variety of places where they can volunteer. Thanks for helping us achieve this goal!
As you can see, this was truly a community effort! We made 389 blankets and involved a whole lot of people in spreading kindness!! It is so much more than a simple crafty project! Seeing the final piece of the puzzle is so rewarding. Pictured below is Missoin Southside's Christmas Store. Families can come and shop for their children so that they can provide for them on Christmas. They fill a stocking, pick some toys for their kids, and each family was given one of our hand made blankets. They served 330 families and we were able to give each family a blanket! Pictured below are two Mission Southside volunteers who were gathering items for families that weren't able to attend.