By John Fitts
Thanks to a local kindergarten class, two young children will have a better holiday season.
For years, Kelly Theriault and her family have participated in the Connecticut Education Foundation’s Holiday Bear Project, a program that benefits public school children in need.
Last year Theriault and her fellow staff members sponsored two children, and this year she decided to bring the project directly into her Cherry Brook Primary School classroom. She asked families to forgo any gifts for her and consider donating to the project.
With the help of classroom volunteers and a few others, the families of the 19 kids in Theriault’s classroom, collected items for 4- and 5-year-old siblings that attend an area school. Using an online sign-up system, the participants coordinated an effort to purchase everyday necessities, school supplies, clothing, coloring books, games, books and toys.
“It was amazing,” Theriault said. “I was just so touched by everybody’s generosity.”
Recently the class gathered to wrap the gifts, which Theriault said included everything on their list and more.
“It was so successful and so meaningful,” Theriault said. “It gave them a chance to think about that not everyone has what we have.”
The Holiday Bear Project has benefit more than 10,000 students since 1998, according to the Connecticut Education Foundation.
Theriault said she’s glad to be a part of it and is thinking of asking the school to expand it next year.
“This is my way of giving back to the community and spreading love and joy during the season,” she said. “It just warms my heart so much.”