By Norma Richman
Even something as simple as a little pen pal note can brighten a day, and when it comes in a gift bag—what could be better? This lesson was on the minds of High Point’s second graders as they crafted colorful pouches and filled them with life’s necessities. Students collected travel-size shampoos, mouthwash, toothpaste, and toothbrushes and packed them into hand-made felt pouches. After a lesson in letter writing, all children also tucked cheerful notes into the bags. These gift bags would soon be on their way to Hillsides Home, where they would be handed out to the school-age residents.
Cassidy I., age 8, explained, “We put in shampoo, a bar of soap, maybe some conditioner. Everyone did a nice note. It made me feel happy because I was helping.”
Amelia K., also 8, added, “So what we did was we wrote little notes. Mine said, ‘I hope you have a good day and I hope you enjoy what I put in the pouch.”
Altogether, 56 pouches were carefully assembled and filled with items that we tend to take for granted. While some children stitched the seams, others glued on the decorations. A team of students also counted and sorted the toiletries so that every recipient at Hillsides got a sampling of products.
Hillsides has its own education center, while also offering social services and other resources to both residents and non-residents alike. Many of the elementary age children will be the lucky recipients of the gift bags and pen pal notes made in Mrs. Pearson’s and Mrs. Smith’s classroom. Our second graders received something as well: a lesson in compassion and a sense of satisfaction for a job well done.
“Well, I felt pretty good. It was fun and exciting stitching the pouch. The kids (at Hillsides) will be super excited to get the pouches,” said eight-year-old Donovan B.
Finally, Gavin F., 8, summed up the experience this way: “We put in small shampoos, tooth brushes, and toiletries. We decorated the pouches so we can help the children. I felt proud.”