“Always be kind,” “Be kind to other” and “Kindness matters” are just a few of the phrases written on paper hearts, lining a wall inside of West Creek Academy’s multipurpose room. The students of West Creek Academy took what they wrote on those hearts and applied them in donating and packaging more than 200 pajamas for students in need on Friday.
West Creek Academy has a long tradition of giving back to local communities and communities across the world. Early on in the year, parents and students come together for one event – “Matters of the Heart.”
“As long as my kids have been there, they have had an event called ‘Matters of the Heart,’” said Stacey Brenner, PTA president of West Creek Academy.
“Matters of the Heart” originally started as a way to spread love and kindness in February, near Valentine’s Day. Eventually, West Creek Academy combined the original event to be in accordance with The Great Kindness Challenge, a dedicated week to empowering students to create a culture of kindness (Jan. 23-27, 2023).
West Creek Academy’s “Matters of the Heart” 2023 event aided toward providing pajamas to students in the Saugus Union School District who were identified as in need, homeless or in foster care. Approximately 200 students were identified by parent liaisons to receive the donations, according to Sue Bett, West Creek Academy principal.
“That’s considered a luxury, not all children have pajamas,” said Bett. “They not only need it for sleeping, sometimes there are school events where it’s a pajama day, and they don’t necessarily even have those pajamas for those school events.”
Parents and students came to the school on Friday to help package the nearly 220 pajamas that were donated from the week. The packages for the students in need consisted of a pair of pajamas, a toothbrush and a colored drawing from the child who helped package it, all tied up with some twine and a gift tag.
Students also made Valentine’s Day cards for the senior citizens at Oakmont Senior Living.
“The students really have a chance to see how they can make a difference in the world, how their kindness can affect others,” said Bett. “We also like to have a family event where parents can also be involved with the students.”
Parent Nelly Catanzarite brought her daughter after she had been begging to come. Even despite a slip in her behavior, Catanzarite couldn’t prevent her from learning something valuable.
“I can’t really take it away from her because it’s something that it’s good for her to learn, to be nice to people,” said Catanzarite.