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Harrison Students Create Bags of Hope for Homeless

HARRISON, N.Y. - It didn't take long for Harrison's Louis M. Klein Middle School eighth graders to paint and stuff nearly 60 backpacks to be donated to homeless students. What they may not have realized was how far their work would go.

"Even though it feels like we didn't do a lot, it feels good to know we will make a difference for someone else," Dustin Hart said.

Students taking elective art courses spent the last 20 weeks collaborating to design and create backpacks for the homeless. After choosing design patterns and painting them onto the fronts and backs of the bags, they topped them off by stuffing them full of school supplies.

"This idea naturally came about," Digital Literacy and Art Teacher Ashley Brocious said. "We wanted to have students use their new art skills to give back to the community."

Brocious said the students wanted to be involved in something local.

"You don't have to go far to make a difference," she said.

The classes worked to create 59 bags in the end and donated them to the Homeless Student Program of the Southern Westchester Board of Cooperative Education Services.

Maria McGinty is the director of the program and spoke to a cafeteria full of students on Thursday morning about the extent of their contributions.

"I'm in awe of these bags," she said. "This is a really good thing the students did. It's important to us and to the program."

All of the bags were created by students and filled with donated school supplies and books courtesy of past donation drives administered by the school.

Brocious and Art Teacher Julia Long had their classes work together to help them paint and sew their bags at different stations. In the end, their work was displayed along tables in the school's cafeteria while the students had the chance to meet McGinty and learn more about the program to which they contributed.

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