By Brianna E. Legg
The kindness of the season came early to many students of Carle High School due to the generosity of the special group Totes for Teens. These amazing volunteers put together duffel bags and much more for so many children in need all over our community. Students received clothing, blankets, pillows, sleeping bags and so much more. One of the truly unique and heartwarming aspects of their kindness is that in each bag there are two wrapped presents for the students to give out. One present is to be given to an adult and one to another person about your age. What an amazing pay it forward example.
These incredible people ask for absolutely nothing in return and work literally the whole year for their generous time of giving. They are so humble that they did not stay around to watch the absolute joy that our students displayed. In the spirit of the Totes group students shared with others in need and even set up a table in Alan’s room for things that others might need to come and browse and then utilize. Words cannot describe the joy and thankfulness of our student body to these amazing people.
Here is their story: Cheri Johnson the creator of Totes for Teens was at Wal-Mart one Christmas working on making donations to kids and she was buying fleece blankets and a assortment of other things. Johnson had seven carts full and a woman asked her “why are you buying all of this?” so Cheri told her. A teenage girl behind her started to cry and said “how come no one does anything for teenagers?”. This young girl’s words resonated with Cheri so much that Cheri put this amazing non profit organization together. Totes for Teens have been around for nearly fifteen years. What Cheri likes the most about her organization is that it sends a message to our kids that people really do care about them, people they will never meet and will never know. It is also great for all the people that work with Totes for Teens because the focus is on giving as opposed to getting. Her message was at the beginning ‘the fans sit in the stands and the players are on the field’ everyone who helps with totes are the players that bring all this about.
Tasha Volitar and her two lovely daughters, Mikayla 13 and Elizabeth 8; have been volunteering for 6 years. Tasha thinks right now we, as a community need to let our teens know we care about them because people have lost sight of the idea that just because children are older doesn’t mean they should get any less attention then the little ones.
Marla Peterson is a 2-year volunteer(and former head of Konocti food services). Peterson is also part of the committee that helps runs Totes for Teens. Peterson said that teens sometimes forget that people really care about them and want to help. This is just our way to remind them that it is a gift from volunteers who care and not a hand out. A lot goes into putting the totes together and that the kids are all worth it.
Totes for Teens had a lot of donations this year to give out to many schools and they needed help getting everything together so Principal Koehler brought 7 students up to help with wrapping and stuffing totes for everyone. This was a great opportunity for our students to see how much goes into an endeavor like this one and an even better chance to get to know these wonderful volunteers personally.
On Friday December second student council hosted a fun end of the day where all student participated in the wonderful activities. Lance Christiansen’s room was the board game and 21 tournament. Angie Siegel, Heather Koehler, and Olga Paselk hosted Holiday Craft making. Alan Siegel’s room was Video Games. Dan Maes’s helped host karaoke in the library and treated everyone to some great guitar playing. Every one had a lot of fun.
This week’s Chilly winner was Destiny Blevins and she grabbed an awesome Rainbow Unicorn piggy bank. Congratulations.
Student of the week was Stacie Clemmons. Stacie was a key player in the Totes project and was instrumental in getting all the gear out to the right people. In addition she handles all the birthday card making at school. She makes sure each and every student has a hand made card with lots of kind words from the staff and students. Congrats you have definitely earned it.
Bruno Sabatier from Woodland college came and visited our school and students. He went on our morning bulletin and then visited two classes during sixth period to talk about the benefits of a college going experience. Mr. Sabatier will come back again on December 5th to finish speaking to all of our students. He is such a warm and honest person who so clearly understands and cares for our students that he really gets his points through to us. We truly appreciate the efforts of Mr. Sabatier looking out for our futures.