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8th graders pet blanket sales help stuff backpacks for foster kids

Posted at 6:53 PM, Jun 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-03 21:53:14-04

PHOENIX — “Some of them are small and then on the back, it’s like black or the same design,” said outgoing 8th grader Chloe Verdugo.

She’s part of a group of Kyrene Middle School students showing ABC15 how the small, homemade pet blankets she’s holding allowed them to make a huge difference for kids just like them.

“It’s really helped us learn who we can be as people and how much we can benefit others,” said Alia Trevino.

Over the past year, the team made up of all Native American students, came up with a plan to make and sell the blankets in order to raise enough money to stuff 60 backpacks destined for a special group of children.

“They did a lot of research on how they could help children and they settled on kids who are in foster care,” said teacher Shannon Manuelito.

But not just any kids, this work would honor their native roots, providing for the Pascua Yaqui and Navajo Family Youth Services Departments.

“Many of these students are from those tribes,” said Manuelito.

“We wanted to bring positivity to their lives, and we wanted to reach out to many communities, but we picked two that really meant importance to us,” said Siara Chee.

So, they got to work making and selling the blankets at school events. From Suns themed to paw-printed, they flew off the proverbial shelves.

“We ended up selling 90 blankets in total,” said Chee. Which led to these a huge assortment of backpacks brimming with goodies like essential items, toys, sports equipment and school supplies.

“We learned that it’s not easy in the situations that they’re going through, and we learned that the stuff that we provide for them is really helping them and making an impact,” said Trevino.

That's something they saw firsthand after dropping them off. Delivering a life lesson, we can all take to heart.

“On the bus ride back, they were talking about they didn’t realize something so little could have that big a difference,” said Manuelito with pride.