Decorated Duffel Bags Filled with Cheer for Foster Children

Thornapple Kellogg middle school student Trysta Hilton said her family donated the bags to the TKMS special needs class where students decorated the bags, then stuffed them full of supplies.

Trysta said she heard about the high school students working with the “Cool to be Kind” program and wanted to do something to continue the efforts in middle school.

“I like being able to contribute and I’m glad somebody else is going to be able to get good use out of it,” said Trysta.

As a student in the links program, Trysta helped the special needs students decorate the bags then fill them with all the donated supplies.

“I’m glad we can help some other kids,” she said.

Jewel Colter colored inside the stencils to create brightly-colored flowers on a bag she was working on.  “It makes me feel like I’m actually doing art for someone,” she said. “I decided to make it all pink and pretty for a girl.”

Other students said being able to help someone else in need made them feel good about themselves. “I like how we get to make something for somebody else. I hope they like them and will make them feel happy,” said Victor Robertson.

Students filled the duffel bags with some personal hygiene and care items, a coloring book and crayons – and best of all a stuffed teddy bear to hug.

“I like these,” said Robertson squeezing one of the stuffed bears. “They’re soft.”

Thornapple Kellogg Middle School teacher Lil Lienesch teaches the special needs students and said her students love being given the opportunities to help others.