Cassandra Little, a K-2 resource teacher at Jefferson Elementary School in Morton, Illinois, has big plans to give back with the help of her students and a THF grant.
"I would like to start a classroom project
to have our special education students design and decorate duffle bags for children in foster care," Little wrote in her grant application. "The goal of providing the duffle bags to children in foster care is to eliminate trash bags from the transition process."
Little, who was in foster care when she was a child, knows the process all too well.
"Often, children are asked to carry any personal items from one placement to another in a trash bag," she said. "The duffle bag symbolizes their dignity as humans, reminding them that they are cared for."
In her application, Little requested funds to purchase 35 sweet case kits from Foster Love, an organization that is on a mission to improve lives of children in foster care.
The 35 kits would be enough for her students to create cases for one year. The THF team loved her idea so much, that we decided to fund the project for five years, impacting five times as many children in foster care and teaching even more of Little's students the importance of helping others.
Earlier this school year, Little's students read "Just Help! How to Build a Better World" by Sonia Sotomayor and then discussed the importance of volunteering and helping others. She plans to continue that lesson, teaching her students what it means to be in foster care and explaining how the decorated duffle bags will be used.
"I think a lot of children, especially our elementary students, do not realize what foster care is," she said. "There are many students that have likely been in the system without them ever having knowledge of this. The goal is to teach our students empathy while also giving back to the foster community. Not every person can foster, but every person can help!"
Watch as we surprise Little and follow Morton District 709 special needs teacher, Megan Levitt in this video from Morton Potters TV.