Kids Who Care connect with Sandy Hook survivors
Kids Who Care members, from left, Victoria Figliuolo, Maggie Carey, Jordyn Kozik, Margaret Martin and Stephanie Madl told up cards they made for survivors of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. | Contributed photo
Updated: February 4, 2013 6:15AM
PARK RIDGE — When students in Mary, Seat of Wisdom School’s Kids Who Care outreach program heard about the deadly Dec. 14 shooting of school children in Newtown, Conn., they immediately reached out to help.
It was, unfortunately, the type of tragedy the Park Ridge students had confronted before. Shootings at Northern Illinois University and Virginia Tech had prompted Kids Who Care members to craft friendship bracelets and notes expressing support for students of the two universities dealing with the aftermath of a tragedy.
And the mass killing of 20 first-graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown was no different.
Kids Who Care, with support from club coordinator and teacher Judie Zoromski, sent 750 friendship bracelets, made of string, to Sandy Hook survivors, each attached to notes that read, “You’re in our hearts and thoughts,” and signed by “a kid who cares.” The children took time out during recess and after school to put the bracelets and messages together.
“The tragedy in Connecticut really struck home for us because we’re also a grade school,” said Mary, Seat of Wisdom eighth-grader Maggie Carey. “We can’t imagine if anything like that happened to our first- graders. Making the bracelets made us feel like we’re reaching out to others and making a difference.”
Zoromski said she was approached by Kids Who Care members immediately after they heard about the school shooting.
“The kids said, ‘What are we going to do?’ I said, ‘First we’re going to pray. Then we’ll meet tomorrow and decide what to send them,’” Zoromski said.
The decision was made to again mail friendship bracelets. Even former Mary, Seat of Wisdom students contacted Zoromski, asking to help.
“They can’t bring the kids back and they can’t make the moms happy again, but in some small way they’ve made a difference and that’s their goal,” Zoromski said of the student effort.
Kids Who Care raises money for materials by conducting fundraisers. Additionally, they help support a Catholic summer camp in New Mexico each year by conducting pizza lunches once every month at Mary, Seat of Wisdom and some students volunteer to serve as counselors at the camp. Over the years the group, which consists of roughly 100 members in grades 4-8, has also raised money for breast cancer research in memory of former principal Judy Schutter, collected used books for Bernie’s Book Bank for distribution to children in need across the Chicago area, recorded a CD with sale proceeds benefitting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and mailed candy to soldiers serving overseas, among other outreach activities.
Zoromski said the purpose of the friendship bracelet project is to give the Sandy Hook students hope.
“Everybody is reaching out to them and that helps the kids see there is more good in the world,” she said.