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Be the Change Bag Project Underway
(by Damon Stone, Allen County-Scottsville High School Senior)

 

    Imagine being a small child, walking out of school and making your way to the bus, when men in suits approach you and explain that they will be taking care of you from that point on. Imagine the fear and uncertainty racing through your mind. Your mother and father have done something that warrants the police to pick you up from school and bring you to a police station, only to be sent into a foreign foster home, with nothing but the clothes on your back and a bag of school supplies with you. Your perception of the world, your parents, your home life, everything you know, becomes shattered like a pane of glass. But you know that somehow, you must take faith in these men in suits to put the pane of glass back together. 

   According to the Kentucky State Cabinet for Health and Family Services, approximately 15,000 Kentucky children are in kinship care, with 8,089 kids living in some type of foster care. Most of those children come from environments where they were separated from their parents with nothing but the clothes on their backs. The homes they come from could be broken, could be involved with drugs and/or drug production, or could be experiencing a personal tragedy. Their entire lives become shattered because of an event entirely out of their control, causing severe mental and sometimes physical pain. 

   According to an interview with Family Development Specialist/Recruiter at Specialized Alternatives for Families and Youth of Kentucky, Vanessa Sewell, “Many times children are removed from school at the end of the day to avoid returning to their home, especially if it isn’t safe. In that scenario, they likely enter care with their school belongings and nothing else. If a child is removed from their home after a session at court where a judge says that they aren’t allowed to return home, they go to their foster home with whatever they’re wearing.” Sewell continued by stating, “If a child is retrieved from their biological home and if it is safe to do so, they may grab what they can carry or stuff into a suitcase/duffel bag/trash bag. They’re often only given about 10 minutes to grab their belongings before they leave their home. If the situation in that same case is unsafe, they may leave with simply the clothes on their backs and whatever is in their hands at that moment.”

   There are some instances in which the children are taken from their homes without their knowledge, and oftentimes during the middle of the night, causing more trauma to them. According to an interview with Ashley Pardue of Blankenship and Sons, “If the children are removed from their homes in the middle of the night, many times they have to spend the night at the police station until DCF can officially take over legal custody the next morning.” The police can’t give these children any sort of comfort. 

   However, you can make a difference to comfort them. AP and Dual Credit English students are teaming up with Blankenship and Sons to collect enough items to fill 100 overnight bags as part of the “Be the Change” Bag program. You can donate items that can benefit these children, giving them a chance to have more than just what they had at the time of tragedy. On September 27th, Blankenship and Sons will have a donation booth set up just inside the gate at the Allen County-Scottsville High School football field for you to donate items that can help benefit these children during the night of the home football Pink Out game. 

   When asked about what inspired them, Ashley Pardue of Blankenship and Sons stated, “We could send care packages down to Texas but there are children in our county that need those same basic amenities. Why not put together care packages for these children in their darkest hour? We hope this drive will not only bring in much-needed items, but also bring awareness to an ongoing issue right here in our community. The youth are our future.” The types of objects you can donate include pajamas for all sizes, pillows, blankets, and clothing. 

Collection bins will be set up inside the main entryways to the school from September 4th to September 27th as well as at the Pink Out game. The ages of these children vary, so bring clothing items of all shapes and sizes, for all ages of children. The students working on the project are passionate about it, knowing how important it is for the community. When asked about the project, Senior Justin Taylor stated, “It is the change needed for us.” These children are counting on you.

 

(For additional information, contact the English Department at Allen County-Scottsville High School)

 


Attachments Available To Download:
Be The change Video
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Allen County Board of Education
570 Oliver Street, Scottsville, KY
Phone: (270) 618-3181
Fax: (270) 618-3185
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Allen County Schools
570 Oliver Street
Scottsville, KY

Call 270-618-3181
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