Project Shopping Spree
Project Shopping SpreeJunior League of the Emerald Coast’s Child Clothing Project Makes School Days Brighter
By Jennifer Walker-Journey
Three hundred local children in need will receive a complete wardrobe of shoes, socks, underwear, shirts, pants and jackets this October during the Junior League of the Emerald Coast’s 30th annual Child Clothing Project.
Teachers and guidance counselors from local schools identify children in kindergarten through fifth grade to participate in the two-day activity. During the event, each child is teamed up with his or her own personal shopper – a Junior League member or volunteer – for a shopping spree through the Target retail store in Mary Esther. The school systems of Okaloosa and Walton counties provide school buses to deliver the students to and from the store.
The activity, which is the chapter’s signature project, provides children with much-needed clothing and helps to make a positive impact on their self-esteem, says chapter president Carrie Chavers.
“The children are able to pick out anything they want, which is something many of them don’t get to experience,” Chavers says. “Some of them just beam with joy.”
Once each child has picked out his or her clothes, all of the children gather together for lunch and arts and crafts. At the end of the day, each child leaves with the clothes he or she has picked out and a goody bag filled with items donated by local businesses.
Last year, 25 schools in Okaloosa County and five in Walton County participated. Since the program began in 1979, it has helped clothe more than 4,500 children.
“The response has been amazing,” Chavers says. “We get a lot of thank-you notes and cards. It’s really sweet.”
Throughout the year, members solicit cash donations to cover the $100-per-child clothing cost, as well as in-kind donations for the arts and crafts and goody bags.
For more information about the Child Clothing Project, to donate, or to volunteer to be a personal shopper, call the Junior League of the Emerald Coast at (850) 862-2665 or visit the chapter’s Web site at jlec.org.
Help Your Kids Discover the Fun of Learning
Want to show your child the fun side of education? Check out education.com, an education and child development Web site for parents. The site is chockfull of grade-appropriate games and activities that children from preschool to high school can do on their own or with their parents. Activities include stock market math, cartoon physics and a presentation on how to “Get Your Tween Excited About Politics.”
Parents also can visit the site’s reference desk for tips on everything from kindergarten readiness and choosing colleges to information about children with special needs or learning difficulties. In addition, the site offers recommendations about e-learning and homework-help software.
A new feature is the “School Finder” section, which allows viewers to find, compare and evaluate public and charter schools anywhere in the country. Information available includes student diversity, teacher quality and test scores, as well as a satellite view of the school. – Jennifer Walker-Journey
Not Always Sweet, But Always Short
Here’s an assignment for teens that is so easy it’s hard: Write your life story using just six words. Visit smithteens.com/sixwords to add your bio to the mix. It could be chosen to be included in an upcoming book, “Six-Word Memoirs by Teens Famous & Obscure.” Even those who might fall outside of the age range (13-19) will find the entries in turn funny (“Note to all boys: I quit.”), poignant (“I said I didn’t care. I lied.”), sad
(“I told you. You told everyone.”), heartbreaking (“I want my virginity back, please.”), angst-filled (“I really should be doing homework.”) and classic (“I colored outside of the lines.”). – Rosanne Dunkelberger