We're changing things up a bit this week for our Friday Thanksgiving Feature and expressing our gratitude for the amazing student volunteer community that we at Shining Stars Foundation like to call, "Kids Helping Kids."
Students from schools in Pitkin County, Grand County, and a number of schools in the Denver Metro area have participated in the program over the last year. Kids offer volunteer support for programs or organize fundraisers to raise money for Shining Stars events and programs.
Just this past week in Aspen, Colorado, our friends at Aspen Middle School put on a two-night Poetry Soiree extravaganza! Students spent countless hours writing or memorizing poems from their favorite authors. All of this hard work culminated at the Soiree, held at Aspen's Limelight Hotel, where students recited their poems in front of family and friends.
Attendees were encouraged to donate to Shining Stars, with the hopes of raising enough funds to sponsor a Shining Star at the 2016 Aspen Winter Games. It was inspiring to see all of the hard work these students had put in on their own time to support other children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses! A big thank you to teachers Hallie Harrison and Bill Boyd for inspiring their students to take this on.
Shining Stars Director of Outreach Cookie Ready visits many of these schools annually to present on the importance of volunteering. Cookie also stresses the importance of acceptance and compassion when a friend or peer is challenged with cancer or another life-threatening illness. When asked why she felt the Kids Helping Kids program was so important, Cookie's answer was two-fold.
"First, for the students, it helps to instill an appreciation of diversity and a love of volunteering at an early age. They learn how good it feels to give back, and how some kids don't have it as easy as others," Cookie explained.
"Second, when students volunteer with the kids that we serve, they develop lasting friendships. The Shining Stars are treated like normal kids or teenagers, a luxury that is not always afforded to them by their peers at home."
We are so incredibly grateful to have such a caring and compassionate student community in the areas we work. These kids give so selflessly of themselves with hopes of making the lives of our Shining Stars kids just that much better.
Thanks to our student volunteers, no one of our Shining Stars has to fight cancer alone, without the support of their peers.
Click here to do your part in making sure that no child or family challeged with cancer or life-threatening illness has to fight their battle alone.