Kids Corner children learn volunteering is rewarding
Children in the Kids Corner School Age Child Care Program in Cloquet are reaching hands out to the community - and around the world this summer. Every year, the children focus on one or two community service projects. This summer is no exception,...
Children in the Kids Corner School Age Child Care Program in Cloquet are reaching hands out to the community - and around the world this summer.
Every year, the children focus on one or two community service projects. This summer is no exception, as the children have spent time gardening at the Churchill School garden and visiting senior citizens at Sunnyside Health Care Center, both on a weekly basis.
Along the way, they have also dedicated classroom time to working on projects that they hope will enhance the lives of those who receive them. Continuing a project begun in the program last year, the children are making patriotic items and collecting things to send to soldiers serving overseas as part of Operation Interdependence, a civilian, non-profit organization that delivers care packages to soldiers in the front lines.
Another project that will carry the children's unique form of community service to foreign lands was spearheaded by one of the Kids Corner summer staff members, Heidi Nelson, who plans to take a service trip to Guatemala early next year. Nelson, a student at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, has gone there twice before with a group called H.E.L.P.S. to work at rural hospitals that provide services to people who can't otherwise afford it. Nelson said her team, which is based in St. Cloud, includes some 80 people of various types of professional disciplines who help provide surgeries (often for things such as cleft palates, burns and hernias), issue medications, and perform other types of medical services for the people.
Nelson, who has a working knowledge of the Spanish language, is often utilized to translate for the physicians, dentists, cooks, nurses and other medical staff.
Nelson explained to the Kids Corner children and staff at a special session last week that the patients who visit their hospital, many of whom are children, have to travel a long way to get there, and the parents can't always be the ones to accompany them. In times such as that, she said the personnel at the hospital like to present the children with toys to relax and entertain them.
To that end, the Kids Corner group has collected a wide variety of toys for Nelson to take with her on her next trip to Guatemala.
The local group has also set its sites on service here at home, and their efforts are turning heads around the community. Deb Lindemood of Volunteer Services of Carlton County paid a visit to Kids Corner last week to thank the children for their kind gestures.
"When you help someone without expecting pay for it, you're considered a volunteer," explained Lindemood. "That puts you among the 2,000 volunteers who help out through our office every year."
The children have created place mats and May baskets for the nursing home, thank you notes for the Volunteer Service Office to distribute to its volunteers, and phone card inserts that will be distributed through Carlton County Public Health.
"Each of you is a ray of sunshine," concluded Lindemood.
Pine Journal Publisher/editor Wendy Johnson can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org .