By Courtney Westlake
A small group of children from the Cox Children's Center enjoyed the outdoors on Wednesday morning, July 29, as they read books and sang songs by the Colonnade. But, more importantly, the kids greeted and thanked several staff and faculty members who stopped by to donate school supplies that the kids were collecting in a big green wagon to give to local schools.
"We're collecting school supplies for the kids that need them," explained five-year-old Ryan. Some supplies collected included "paper, glue, pencils, colored pencils, markers, crayons," Ryan said.
Ryan and classmate Blake agreed that it feels good to help out other children and share supplies they collect.
"We need to give other kids stuff so they can go to school," Blake said.
The Cox Children's Center on UIS' campus - which cares for infants through children age five during the school year, and through age 14 during the summer - does a few service projects every year to stay involved with the local community, said Stacey Gilmore, director of the center.
"We want to help kids understand why it's important, at an early age, to get involved with the community and help others who might need our help," she said. "This is something kids can relate to. They're fortunate enough that they can go to school and have the supplies they need to succeed. It's our goal is to help others get that same early start."
Children of UIS students attend school in the Ball Chatham district, so the school supplies collected at the Cox Center will be donated to that school district, Gilmore said.
"It's important for us to help those families," she said.
On Wednesday, some of the children at Cox gathered at the Colonnade to make it convenient for anyone wanting to donate to bring supplies out to the kids, but the Children's Center will also be collecting supplies at the center until August 4. Collection boxes are set up in each classroom of the facility.
Some supplies that are needed include: #2 pencils, 24-count crayons, backpacks, red pens, large erasers, Fiskar-brand scissors, folders with pockets, 3X5 lined index cards, yellow highlighters, rulers, tissues, compasses, 3-subject spiral notebooks, pen/pencil carrying cases, Scotch tape and much more. For a complete list, contact the Cox Children's Center.
Gilmore said they are extremely proud of the children's efforts at Cox to help collect supplies to donate.
"A lot of these families are not very well off themselves, but it's amazing to me that they still will make it a point to bring in something, even if it's just a box of crayons, to help their children understand that this is important," she said. "So we are proud that they take that responsibility on."