'Learn how to give back:' Local children give away clothing, toys

  • Posted: Saturday, April 19, 2014 12:01 a.m.
    UPDATED: Saturday, April 19, 2014 9:51 a.m.
Staff photo by Teddy Kulmala
Christina Freeman, left, models a purse while Tonyia Hood looks through stuffed animals at the Brothers and Sisters of Aiken County community service project on Friday. The goal of the project was to get the program's participants to give away their own clothes, toys and possessions.
Staff photo by Teddy Kulmala Christina Freeman, left, models a purse while Tonyia Hood looks through stuffed animals at the Brothers and Sisters of Aiken County community service project on Friday. The goal of the project was to get the program's participants to give away their own clothes, toys and possessions.

Children in an Aiken youth organization on Friday gave back to the community from which they've received so much.

Brothers and Sisters of Aiken County held its community service project on Friday. As part of the project, children involved in the program spent last week, which was spring break, going through their bedrooms and closets and finding items they no longer use. They brought the items back to the Brothers and Sisters office on York Street and arranged them on the porch on Friday for community members to take what they wanted.

“What we're trying to teach them is to learn how to give back what was given to them,” said Program Coordinator Charonica Pope.

“People donate to our program. They are so generous in giving us donations from time to time, and it's important that they learn to give back what's given to them,” Pope said.

On Friday, tables outside the program's office were filled with stacks of clothing, while other clothing items hung on hangers. Other tables were filled with shoes, toys or stuffed animals, and bicycles were lined up against the railing.

Pope said normal wear and tear on items was acceptable, but they still had to be in good condition. The program will hold on to the items that weren't given away on Friday for a short time, then donate them.

Pope said the project teaches children not only to give, but to be happy about giving. Overall, the kids were excited about the project.

“A lot of the kids here said, 'Well, I might need it, too,'” she said. “I'm like, 'That's fine, but still you receive, so I want you to learn how to give.'”

Pope said the program performs two community service projects each year. For the next project, she said they hope to partner with Aiken Public Safety to get out into the community.

Brothers and Sisters of Aiken County is a nonprofit youth organization that operates under United Way of Aiken County. It serves students ages 5 to 17 who are enrolled and attending school in Aiken County, and offers tutorial services as well as life skill programs at no cost to participants. Pope said people frequently bring by donations of snacks, bottled water or school supplies, or money to purchase those items.

“We are truly, truly blessed,” she said. “I want the kids that I work with to understand that, it's not always good to hold your hand out. Learn how to work for what you have, and learn how to share.”

Teddy Kulmala covers the crime and courts beat for the Aiken Standard and has been with the newspaper since August 2012. He is a native of Williston and majored in communication studies at Clemson University.

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