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Second-graders do their part for the homeless

Lone Tree Elementary students complete projects to better the community


Second-graders Angelika Korniyekl, Colton Holmes and Keno Woods wanted to help the homeless.

Through a school project, they did just that.

“We need to take care of them so they can eat,” Woods said. “We want them to be happy, and we can be happy that we did this.”

Their project was similar to four others in teacher Kimberly Leroi’s classroom, where community service is an important part of Lone Tree Elementary School’s curriculum.

The students identified issues within Douglas County and Lone Tree and chose a topic they felt passionate about to focus their community service project on.

“They had to look at the issue and come up with what was needed and how we could help them,” Leroi said.

Starting in November, the students identified a problem, found possible solutions, interviewed a professional in the field and completed a project that helped the community.

In groups of three or four students, the youths made toys for homeless animals at the Dumb Friends League, made activity books for sick children and their siblings at children’s hospitals, spent time with senior citizens at Morning Star Senior Living and helped kindergarten students with various projects.

“Each group fully completed what they wanted to do,” Leroi said. “They saw the relevance to what they wanted to do become a reality. The kids really were passionate about the group that they chose.”

Leroi had Lone Tree Police Department’s school marshal, Kyle Maddox, speak to the class about the issue of homelessness and ways that a second-grader could help.

The students decided they would assemble bags of items — including toothpaste, soap and granola bars — to be handed out to the homeless.

“I love that they are able to recognize things that are going on in the community and are giving back to it in their own capacity,” Maddox said.

The students put together a supply drive in their school to collect the items, then organized the items into gallon-sized bags. By the end of the year, the kids assembled close to 100 bags.

“Putting all the stuff in the bags instead of doing math was fun,” Holmes said. “I also felt really good because I helped the homeless. When I was going to the Bluffs, I saw a homeless person in a corner with a dog and I thought that someone should help him.”

Maddox said there are not many homeless people who stay in Lone Tree but there are homeless travelers who pass through. Each patrol car will have several of the bags to distribute to people.

“A lot of the times, (Lone Tree police officers) come across people who don’t have a home and they don’t have these essential things,” Maddox said. “Now we can give them some of the essentials.”


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