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 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
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
"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."