Bell Adult Education students collect coats

Published 5:39 am Friday, October 5, 2007

By By ERIKA PICKLES / Niles Daily Star
NILES – Students at Bell Adult Education Center know the importance of helping those less fortunate.
For the past three weeks, Linda Ditto's serviced based learning class has been busy collecting coats for the Niles Service League's annual Coat Drive.
This program gives coats to children, grade school through high school, in need during the winter months.
Students collected coats from all four Brandywine schools – Merritt, Brandywine Elementary, junior high and high school – and are excited that they could step in and help.
"We collected between 40 to 50 coats this year which is something we are very happy about. This is our first year doing this and I know the kids had a good time," Ditto said.
This isn't the first time the class has stepped in, or will be stepping in, to lend a helping hand.
This Christmas, the class will be adopting a family. Their hopes are to provide dinner and gifts to a single parent with children.
The class will be doing different things to raise money for the family. At a recent bake sale, they were able to raise $125.
The class will also be delivering poinsettias to every resident of an area nursing home.
"We delivered poinsettias last year and the residents really appreciated it," Ditto said.
She added that the goal of the class is learning the importance of giving back to the community.
Jacob Ketchum knows how its feels to be in this kind of situation.
"I like participating because I know what it's like to not have a coat in the winter. There were a few times when I didn't have one so I like knowing someone else won't have to go through what I went through," he said.
Cam Rutledge said he thinks it's great that young people, like himself and the other students, can come together and work together to help others through hard times.
"This isn't some project we are doing for fun. Sometimes school classes will assign a project like this and you have to do it. This is not something we had to do. We are doing it out of the kindness of our hearts, not because someone told us to," Cassandra Lakin said.
Erica Doyle said her school has a bad reputation and it's time that people see it's not a bad school at all, especially when they do events like this.
"Some of us did things that brought us here, but we're not bad people for it and the school itself isn't bad. We help others like we did for the coat drive," she added.
"These kids have learned a lot and they did a great job with this coat drive. We can't wait until we are able to adopt a family. That's something we are all looking forward to," Ditto added.