Pet Blanket Sales for 8th Graders Help Store Backpacks for Foster Kids

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PHOENIX – “Some of them are small and then on the back it’s like black or the same design,” said outgoing 8th grader Chloe Verdugo.

She is one of a group of students from Kyrene Middle School showing ABC15 how the little homemade pet blankets she keeps have allowed them to make a huge difference for kids like them.

“It really helped us learn who we can be as people and how helpful we can be to others,” Alia Trevino said.

Over the past year, the team of all Native American students has come up with a plan to make and sell the blankets to raise enough money to fill 60 backpacks for a special group of children.

“They did a lot of research on how they could help the kids and they settled on kids who are in foster care,” teacher Shannon Manuelito said.

But not just any children, this work would honor their indigenous roots, providing the departments of Pascua Yaqui and Navajo Family Youth Services.

“A lot of these students are from these tribes,” Manuelito said.

“We wanted to bring positivity into their lives and we wanted to reach many communities, but we picked two that were really important to us,” Siara Chee said.

So they got to work making and selling the blankets at school events. From the Suns theme to the paw print, they flew off the proverbial shelves.

“We ended up selling 90 covers in total,” Chee said. Which led to a huge assortment of backpacks brimming with goodies like essentials, toys, sports gear, and school supplies.

“We’ve learned that it’s not easy in the situations that they’re going through, and we’ve learned that the things that we provide to them really help them and have an impact,” Trevino said.

This is something they saw firsthand after dropping them off. Offer a life lesson we can all take to heart.

“On the bus ride home they were saying they didn’t realize something so small could make such a big difference,” Manuelito said proudly.

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