A Kindergarten Class That CARES

Children from Kent State’s Child Development Center were inspired to donate to Kent State’s CARES Center

It began with “One.”

“One” is a children’s book by Kathryn Otoshi that Charlie, a student at Kent State’s Child Development Center, read with his parents. His mother taught at the center. The book uses colors and numbers as characters and deals with issues of bullying, standing up for one’s self, the power of numbers and the power of “one.”

Charlie and Sara from the CDC

Charlie and Sarah Knapp, a Kent State alumna and kindergarten teacher at Kent State's Child Development Center

Inspired by this book, Charlie and his parents visited the Kent State’s CARES Center (Crisis Advocacy Resources Education Support) and took an ornament from the center’s “Giving Tree.” Each ornament carries a tag that lists some of the most-desired items for the center’s pantry.

The center’s pantry is stocked with fresh and non-perishable food items and personal care items that go to Kent State students in crisis.

Charlie told his friends in his kindergarten class at the Child Development Center about the ornament and the Giving Tree, and they wanted to participate, too.

CDC kindergarten class with a wagon full of donations

Children Arrived Towing a Wagon

Staffers at the Child Development Center organized a visit to the CARES Center with the children and a wagon-load of donations. Terri Cardy, an outdoor educator in Kent State’s Child Development Center, along with other staffers, led the group of children into the CARES Center.

Sydney Jordan, assistant director of the CARES Center, was happy to welcome the young visitors, show them around the food pantry and assist them in shelving their donations. She also gathered them around the center’s Giving Tree to tell them about the donation items listed on the ornaments and answer questions.

CDC kindergarten class visiting the Giving Tree at the CARES Center

The children took two ornaments from the Giving Tree that they will bring with them on a trip to the CVS location in Kent in one week. There, they will purchase the listed items and bring them back to the CARES Center.

Other staff members from Kent State’s Child Development Center who accompanied the children on their visit were Sara Knapp, a Kent State alumna who teaches the kindergarten class there; Anna Thompson (“Miss Anna”), a student in Kent State’s graduate early childhood education program; and Maia Bagnato, a senior in Kent State’s early childhood education program.

The CDC kindergarten class arrived with a wagon full of donations

The class stocked the shelves with the donations they brought and learned about how these donations help Kent State students in need. 

The Need is Great

Jordan said that the number of students in need visiting the center has increased from fall semester 2022 to fall semester 2023. She is grateful for the visit by the Child Development Center class and the recent story about the Giving Tree in Kent State Today.

“After the story, we can’t keep ornaments on the tree,” Jordan said. “We have to keep making them.”

The Giving Tree will be on display through Dec. 15 and the center will be open to accept donations through Dec. 23. The CARES Center is located on the first floor of the Kent Student Center, Suite 106, near the elevators. Their offices are open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call 330-672-7575 or email CAREScenter@kent.edu.

POSTED: Thursday, December 7, 2023 04:13 PM
Updated: Monday, January 29, 2024 11:32 AM
Phil B. Soencksen