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Religious education students donate items to police officers

By KATIE LEFEBVRE, Globe staff reporter
April 19, 2007

Religious education students at Immaculate Conception Parish in Sioux City have donated items to a unique cause.

Students in Sharon Dykshoorn's and Angela Peterson's sixth grade religious education class have donated baby blankets and stuffed animals for police officers to give to Larger image avaialble children in stressful situations. This year there are 17 students in the class and last year there were 22 students.

"It is important to me that the students learn how to give," said Dyskshoorn. "I think this gives them a really good feeling about giving."Each student in the class makes a square for a quilt that is later sewn together. They color pictures and write their names on the squares with paint pens, Dykshoorn pointed out.

"For the last three or four years, the students in the sixth grade have all made a baby blanket," said Dyskshoorn, who has been a religious education teacher for about five years.

The project takes a few class periods to complete. Once the blanket is made, the students have their picture taken with it to show their parents what they have done.

Along with the blanket, the sixth graders collected about 30 teddy bears.

Thad Boyer, a police officer, has been given the items and will pass them on to other police officers, who will carry them in the trunks of their cars. The stuffed animals help give comfort to children at scenes of accidents, fires or other frightening situations. This is the second year the class has made a donation.

"When the police officer comes in, he tells the students the kinds of situations that he uses the blankets for," said Dyskshoorn. "They get a better understanding of how important it is to other people and what a difference they can make in lives around them."

The blankets that the students helped create will go to infants and smaller children for both comfort and warmth.

"Learning anything in CCD or in life, when you see, hear and do, it stays with you for the rest of your life. You get it from every aspect of learning styles," said Dyskshoorn.

During the police officer's visit, the students also talk about what they can to do to make a difference and continue to help beyond the classroom.

"The need to do something to help others does grow. It is like the movie, Pay it Forward," said Dykshoorn. "The students love to help others. They really begin to develop the spirit within themselves. They begin their leadership early in their lives. I see a bright world ahead of them."