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Fifth graders get a lesson in compassion and giving as they donate handmade blankets to unhoused youth.

Fifth graders at Oak Creek Elementary School have started picking up additional chores around the house. However, the money earned will not go toward a new game or treat, but, rather, to those in need. COURTESY PHOTO: KAYLIN DODGE - The Oak Creek Elementary fifth grade class held its annual Blanket Project. The students spent the week of Dec. 6 making the blankets with material they bought with their allowance.

Through November and leading into the first week of December, the fifth grade class hosted its annual Blanket Project drive. The project was started by Robin Lindsay at Palisades and the idea traveled to Oak Creek over a decade ago. And ever since, the students have created hundreds of blankets each year to be donated to the Janus Youth Center in Portland.

"It's an opportunity to have students reach inside themselves and learn about having empathy for others," said teacher Kaylin Dodge.

During November, the fifth graders did extra chores around their homes to earn extra allowance that would go toward purchasing fabric for the blankets.COURTESY PHOTO: KAYLIN DODGE  - The fifth grade students made over 120 blankets to donate to Janus Youth.

According to Dodge, the students raised over $2,500 and will make about 120 blankets to donate to unhoused youth before Christmas.

"This project brings real-life learning to students so that they have the experience in their lives of giving back to their communities and helping not only people who are close to them, but helping those around them. It teaches them this ripple effect of spreading kindness," Dodge said.

The longstanding tradition is something the students look forward to as they approach the fifth grade, Dodge said. The goal is to allow students the opportunity to donate their own time and money to a greater cause. COURTESY PHOTO: KAYLIN DODGE - Students raised over $2,500 for the blankets.

"There are so many positive effects with this project. It is long-lasting and life-changing for them. They get to give back to their community in ways that they might not necessarily have an opportunity to do elsewhere," Dodge said.


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