A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Thornwilde Elementary’s ‘Spreading Hope and Love Club’ shows big heart with comfort kits project

By Judy Clabes
NKyTribune editor

A Community Problem Solving Team (CmPS) of fourth- and fifth-graders at Thornwilde Elementary School in Hebron has undertaken a bold goal. They have launched an ambitious project to help their fellow students who are facing serious challenges.

The ‘Spreading Hope and Love Club’ (SHLC) multi-faceted project aims to distribute Comfort Kits to students who suffer hardships — from house fires, homelessness/displacement, domestic abuse situations, loss of vital home utilities and family financial crises — but not limited in any way.

They want to mitigate the burden of anxiety and fear.

Jordan R. Scheid Program Coordinator Thornwilde Elementary School Hebron is the teacher in charge.

The club will distribute #BooneCountyComfortKits across the Boone County area. These kits designed by the student team, after thorough research and consultation. They will include various items aimed to mentally and physically calm and support children in times of need.

Items in these kits may include: sensory items, small toiletries, books, small toys/stuffed animals, warm winter weather items, etc.

The competitive project is hosted as part of the CmPS Competition with the Kentucky Association for Academic Competition (KAAC) and Future Problem Solving International (FPSPI).

The student team has partnered with a growing list of schools within the district and local first responder agencies. These integral members of the community will work alongside the student team to distribute these kits as incidents take place within the Boone County community.

So far, the student team has secured distribution commitments from the following schools and agencies:

Schools: Collins Elementary, Erpenbeck Elementary, Kelly Elementary, Longbranch Elementary, New Haven Elementary, North Pointe Elementary, Ockerman Elementary, Stephens Elementary, Thornwilde Elementary, Yealey Elementary, Gray Middle, Jones Middle, Ockerman Middle, RISE Academy, Conner High, Cooper High, Ignite Institute, and Ryle High School.

Agencies: Florence Fire Dept., Hebron Fire Protection Dist., Burlington Fire Protection Dist., Petersburg Fire Dept., Boone County Sheriff, and Florence Police Dept.

The CmPS Team has set an initial goal of garnering 350 #BooneCountyComfortKits for initial distribution to their partners throughout Boone County by March 1.

The project was designed after a student-led discussion on anxiety related to the COVID-19 global health pandemic, and the resulting school building closures transpiring since last March, said Scheid.

From this discussion, a team member remarked that the only other time that their current anxiety could be compared to would be when their family experienced a house fire.

At that time, the Spreading Hope and Love Club (SHLC) and the #BooneCountyComfortKits Project, was created.

The students have shown incredible heart, said Shied. Through their research, students found that 84.5% of the responding schools currently know of at least one Boone County family who are homeless or displaced, while 92% of the responding schools know of at least one Boone County family who are experiencing loss of vital utilities, such as water and electric.

Additional future efforts will include education and advocacy in the community surrounding these issues, he said.

In this time of darkness and despair around our county, state, and nation, the CmPS Team is looking forward to solutions — and to supporting the mental health and overall wellbeing of Boone County children.

Donations can be made to support the program here.

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