Bremerton students offer a helping hand

Students in the leadership classes at Mountain View Middle School worked recently on quilts to be donated to local citizens in need. The students say they find a sense of community in helping others while finding a sense of pride in themselves.

Although their hands may be smaller than most adults, their hands seek to make a big difference in the community.

Whether working at a pair of white Singer sewing machines in a classroom or measuring and cutting strips of cloth, the hands of students in the leadership classes at Mountain View Middle School moved with a purpose; to make make life better for some local residents.

This year those students created 38 quilts to provide warmth to the homeless and others living in the community that are in need. They made them with pride. Mackenzie Harris, an eighth-grade student in one of the classes, said the thought of offering such a basic comfort to somebody in need warmed her heart as much as she believed the efforts helped to warm the lives of others.

“I feel better about myself knowing we are doing something that helps other people that are in need,” she said. “It is nice to know that they are warm at night instead of being cold.”

Janet Davis, the instructor for the program at the middle school, said that many of her students have expressed the same type of sentiment.

“They get a sense of giving something back to the community,” she said.

Davis said the hands of the young people have reached out to help others in the community in many other ways also. Five leadership classes this year have created 150 toiletry packages for people at local shelters, she said.

She said the students also created Easter baskets for local children in need and created as many as one thousand gift bags for the Christmas Angels Program held by Kitsap Community Resources.

Davis said the young people also volunteered their time to help in Santa’s Workshop for the program among other admirable endeavors.

Davis said these endeavors connect the students to their community as well as to one another.

“Not only do they get a sense of giving back,” Davis said. “They get a sense of someone caring for them because some of the students, without the other students knowing, benefit from some of the programs and receive some of the gifts, especially through Christmas Angels.”

Alyssa Gran, another eighth-grade student in one of Davis’ classes said she was reaching out in a way she believed others might reach out to her if she was in need.

“When we did Christmas Angels and the kids got the presents that they wanted and needed, like new clothes, it made me feel good,” Gran said. “If I was homeless, I would want someone to do that for me, too.”

Davis said that although the classes taught community engagement, leadership and seeing the world from a different and expanded perspective, the classes could only build upon what already existed in the students’ hearts and helped them reach out to community while building their own abilities.

“You can’t ask for more success than that,” she said.

Davis said the students will continue to lend a hand by making quilts, but that the leadership classes are in need of sewing machines and other sewing supplies.