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Students make fleece blankets for homeless

Anchorage, AK, December12, 2013 - The entire student body at College Gate Elementary School has been making fleece blankets to be delivered to Brother Francis homeless shelter on Thursday, Dec.19 as part of the national Joy Maker campaign led by generationOn, a global youth service organization that inspires kids to make their mark on the world. For each action a child or teen takes to help others as part of the Joy Maker initiative, Hasbro will donate a toy or game to Toys for Tots - up to 1 million dollars' worth!

The large collection of colorful fleece blankets will be packed up and picked up at 2 p.m. in the school library by Catholic Social Services. Each blanket has a short note written by a student and a recipe attached to them.

"It became clear to us that the best thing we could do this holiday season to help our community is make sure some of the people who really need our help have a warm blanket," said Alaska Ambassador of Joy, Dona Helmer, who helped organize the event. "We felt we needed to make a positive difference in our community."

 "We wish to extend a huge thank you to the students at College Gate Elementary. Winter is an especially tough time for people without a permanent home, so these blankets will go a long way to making their lives a bit more tolerable," said Susan Bomalaski, executive director of Catholic Social Services.

Beginning on December 3, national Giving Tuesday, students began helping tie the fleece blankets in the library. Teachers, staff, parents and even retired employees stopped by the library and helped to cut the fleece for students. Every day during December, the pile of colorful blankets grew as students began counting to see if they would reach their goal of 3 blankets per classroom.

As part of the project, Hasbro donated 100 new toys to be distributed by the Joy Ambassador. On Wednesday, December 12 when students reached their goal of 60 blankets, the toys were picked up by Salvation Army for G.I.F.T project, a project that distributes toys to children in need. Major Nila Fankhauser, from the Salvation Army said, "Thank you so much. 'A Joy Ambassador'-- what a wonderful thing to be! We should all be 'Joy Ambassadors' and the world would be a better place! The toys will be used as part of the GIFT program next week where parents that may not otherwise have gifts for their children will 'shop' and pick out a toy. I am sure these will make many children very happy!"

"We are very proud of these young people. We know the youth of today have the power, enthusiasm and creativity to make their mark on issues important to their community and beyond," said Kathy Saulitis, senior vice president for programs at generationOn. "We also wish to thank our partner, Hasbro, for their continued support and generous matching toy contributions to Toys for Tots."

For four years, generationOn and Hasbro have partnered on the Joy Maker campaign- inspiring more than 100,000 acts of service by kids and teens each holiday season. Kids and teens interested in being a Joy Maker in 2013 can still get involved. The website www.givejoy.generationon.org offers a range of project ideas as well as an easy way to download a holiday card and send it to a child needing joy this holiday season. This three week effort to turn acts of service into donations to kids in need runs from December 3rd (Giving Tuesday) through December 20th.

Principal Darrell Berntsen said, "College Gate Elementary has 390 students in a comprehensive K-6 program which emphasizes both high academic standards and community service. Every month students and student government look for public service activities that they can perform in Anchorage." The community can donate fleece or other items to the project at 3101 Sunflower Street, Anchorage, AK 99508.

About generationOn
GenerationOn is the global youth service movement igniting the power of kids to make their mark on the world. As Points of Light's youth service enterprise, generationOn inspires, equips and mobilizes youth to take action through generationOn service clubs, schools, youth organizations, campaigns and youth leadership initiatives. It also provides tools and resources to youth, families and educators to help kids change the world and themselves through service. For more information, visit generationon.org.

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