AES Cares and Gearup

Students in Allen Elementary School’s AES Cares and Gear Up clubs collected donations to fill 40 travel totes for foster care children who are served by the Mountain Comprehensive Care Center’s Therapeutic Foster Care & Adoption Services program. 

Students at Allen Elementary donated 40 totes filled with gifts for foster children last week.

Allen Elementary College and Career Navigator and Gear Up Coordinator Cindy Artrip said students in the AES Cares and Gearup clubs have worked since the beginning of this school year to gather donations for this project. It’s one of several projects being undertaken by the students. 

Carla Marshall, a service coordinator for the Mountain Comprehensive Care Center’s Therapeutic Foster Care & Adoption Services program, picked up the donation from the school on Feb. 15. She’s one of several MCCC officials who help foster care children.

She said MCCC provides services to foster children in several counties, and estimated that about 40 children are served from the program’s office in Prestonsburg.

Marshall said she was glad to see these students working to help children in foster care.

“I’m glad that they’re doing this because they’re not aware. They really need to be aware of what’s going on with these kids,” she said. 

Drs. Mahendra and Chandra Varia and Laila Rani Slone Varia sponsored the totes for the project, and the students gathered donations from the community to fill them with gifts. 

Artrip said that the students supplied blankets, stuffed animals, personal care items, journals, ink pens and inspirational cards for the foster care children. 

She said the students started the fundraiser to honor one of their former classmates, who died last year. 

“They had a classmate who took her life last year. She was a foster child, and they wanted to do something in her honor,” Artrip said. 

She said the students plan to seek more donations for this project in the future. 

“This is our first year doing this, so our future goal is going to be to be able to reach out to more kids,” Artrip said. 

She said the project gives these foster care children “something more personal to carry along with them as they travel from place to place.” 

For more information about the MCCC Therapeutic Foster Care & Adoption Services program, call, (606) 263-4938.

Local residents who want to donate to the foster care donation drive hosted by AES Cares, visit “AES Cares” on Facebook. 

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