Davis and Elkins backpacks
Members of Dr. Sarah Garrison’s Freshmen Seminar class who participated in a project to collect supplies and backpacks for youths in foster care are, from left, Juel Selby, Ethan King, Elizabeth Caterino, Garrison, Makayla Johnson, Mackenzie Mulkiewicz, Korri Evans, Kelsey Armstrong, Zachary Miller, Rory Burke, Samuel Garrett, Roxanne McFarlin, Tori Goss, Morgan White and Samantha Andrews.

D&E students help foster care youths prepare for emergencies

ELKINS – The Randolph County Department of Health & Human Resources (DHHR) office is now equipped with emergency supplies for secondary school age children, thanks to efforts of a group of Davis & Elkins College students.

Through a campus wide effort, students in Dr. Sarah Garrison’s Freshman Seminar class collected items and loaded them into backpacks ready for use by youths confronted with an emergency situation.

“The course focused on self-growth and service-learning,” Garrison explained. “As such, the class chose a community agency to partner with and give back.”

The students worked with D&E athletic teams, sororities, the president’s office, classes, the Division of Humanities and others who were willing to donate items and backpacks that will be given to foster children ages 11-17 who are being removed from their homes.

Each backpack is filled with starter items such as pajamas, clothing, blankets and toiletries, a D&E T-shirt and a handwritten letter of encouragement from a freshman student in Garrison’s class.

“The idea for this started when we heard some of these kids didn’t have backpacks, but were carrying their things in trash bags,” said freshman Ethan King of Boyds, Maryland. “We wanted to give them something of comfort and do something to help make them feel better.”

The age group was selected after students learned that most items donated for emergencies or comforting are geared toward younger children, and Garrison said the students were concerned that teens are often left without when a situation arises.

While the students anticipated collecting and filling a dozen backpacks, the outpouring of support allowed them to double their goal and deliver 24 filled backpacks to the local DHHR field office.

“They are very proud of their work and how they’re working to make a difference in our community,” Garrison said.

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