Providence Christian students in Merced reach out to less-fortunate teens

dyawger@mercedsunstar.comFebruary 27, 2014 

Providence Christian School students, from left, Tanner Torell, Morgan McCary and Jackson De Jager and their classmates collected 71 pairs of jeans for homeless teenagers and five boxes of personal hygiene items as part of a community service project.

SUBMITTED PHOTO

— Students at Providence Christian School in Merced are putting themselves in others’ shoes.

Jennifer Tripp, a Providence teacher, said students collected 71 pairs of jeans and five large boxes of personal hygiene items as part of its community service project.

“I am so proud to see my students feel so passionate about this project and wanting to help others,” Tripp said. “Providence Christian School students decided to collect jeans for homeless teens through Aeropostale’s ‘Teens for Jeans’ project that supplies donated jeans to local homeless teens.”

The school’s student council also collected hygiene items for Without Permission’s “Bags of Compassion” program. When girls are rescued from human trafficking and have no personal items, Without Permission gives victims a backpack of hygiene items and a blanket.

Morgan McCary, an eighth-grader and student council president, hopes the efforts of her school inspire other students to do more in Merced and all over to make the world a better place.

“We did this because I am about the same age as some of these homeless teens,” McCary said. “I put myself in their shoes and imagined how I would feel if I did not have any jeans. It is important for us kids to learn about our community and how we can help others out.”

Rhoda Chew, a parent of fifth- and eighth-grade students, said the service project was a way to pay things forward.

“I think it is important to share the abundance that God gives us,” Chew said. “I know personally how people have shared with our family with food, clothes and many other items. An opportunity like this teaches my kids compassion for others that are less fortunate.”

“My kids are now more aware of homeless people. They will have me drive home and get a pillow off of my bed and drive back to give a homeless person a pillow to sleep on,” Chew added. “This helps them think the right way and know it’s the right thing to do.”

Tripp said trafficked girls rescued off the street or from homes don’t have many personal items. When she goes to the Police Department to meet the victims, she goes with a backpack full of items they need.

“To have a nice shower and brush their teeth brings back a little normalcy to their lives,” Tripp said.

Kinley Mininger, a first-grader, said the program makes her happy.

“I feel bad for kids that don’t even have a toothbrush to brush their teeth. I am happy now because they have clean teeth,” Mininger said.

Sun-Star staff writer Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or dyawger@mercedsunstar.com.

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