Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Local girl turns party into charity

J-E News Editor
Today’s youth often have a reputation for sitting at home, playing video games and being generally disconnected from the community, but at least two area elementary school students have stepped up in a big way to help their classmates and their community.
Dixon student Brookelyn Whitledge recently celebrated her eighth birthday with a skating party for her friends and family. When Dwayne and Valerie Whitledge were planning her party, Brookelyn asked if guest could bring shoes rather than gifts.
“I wanted other people to have shoes,” she said. Brookelyn’s mother said that for a little girl, she has a ‘pretty big heart’.
“A couple of Christmases ago our church did a shoe tree program,” Valerie said. “I think that inspired her to do this.”
In all Brookelyn gathered 43 pairs of shoes that she presented to the Webster County Advisory Council last Wednesday. After seeing her success, one of her classmates decided to do the same thing.
A Clay eighth grader has also become active in her school, although she prefers to remain nameless. She met with the Advisory Council on Wednesday to seek their help starting a program that she has named “Project: Pass It On”.
In a prepared statement she wrote, “The idea of Project: Pass It On is to empower. To increase confidence in middle school girls across Webster County.”
The idea of the program is to take gently used clothing that is donated by area middle schoolers and give it to those sixth, seventh and eighth grade girls who might not be able to afford nice named brand clothing.
“When you’re in these pre-teen/teen years, your appearance is important to you,” she told the council. “You want to be yourself, but you don’t want to stand out in a negative way due to your wardrobe.”
According to this young lady’s plan, each school would have a place to make donations. After they were collected, the clothing would then be switched with the clothing gathered at one of the other schools in the district so that no one would be able to guess who was wearing the donated clothes.
Working in cooperation with Advisory Council, she hopes to have the program up and running by the fall semester.

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