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Two EC students collecting donations for foster children

Teenagers create 'First Night Bags' donation drive

(ST. LEON, Ind.) -- Two East Central students are giving back to foster children through a unique donation drive they created.

Kara Rowland was in eighth grade when she organized her inaugural 'First Night Bags' campaign three years ago.

"I tried to do it on my own but I realized that I needed more help," Rowland said.

Kara asked her classmate, Katie Baier, if she wanted to get involved in the project and Katie said yes.

Now high school juniors, Kara and Katie hold a donation drive every year to collect supplies for foster kids through their "First Night Bags" campaign.

The students collect items such as socks, snacks, toys, tote bags, gloves, hygiene products and feminine supplies.

They will deliver the donations to the Yes Home in Aurora and the Lighthouse Youth Crisis Center in Cincinnati.

Community members and students can donate to this project before their deadline on January 10.

You can make a donation by giving the items to an East Central student or staff member.

Donations are being accepted now

"This year we are making it a bigger project and going to have a game night with the foster children at both the Yes Home and Lighthouse," Rowland said.

Rowland and Baier say game night will allow them to get to know the children they are helping.

Both students are part of East Central's FCCLA chapter and this initiative is eligible for a statewide competition.

But, FCCLA teacher Brenda Osman says the students aren't doing this to win an award.

"They have done it all on their own and made all the contacts, and have been driven to make a difference at the youth facilities, especially the YES Home," said Osman.

While the students are making an impact for less fortunate kids, they have also felt the reward of giving back.

"The facilities are super appreciative when we stop by and deliver the bags. We put games and snacks in the bag, because that first night in a new home has to be scary," Katie Baier said.

Rowland said she appreciates the letters and thank you cards they get from the children.

Both students hope they can receive more donations from the community so they can give 'First Night Bags' to more foster children in the area.


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