By Stacey Bomser
For many Weston students, the first lesson of the school year was one of compassion. Thanks to their efforts, and the generosity of the community, Kids Helping Kids was able to provide much-needed school supplies for disadvantaged students at Royal Palm STEM Museum Magnet School in Lauderhill.
Now in its eleventh year, Kids Helping Kids was founded by Lisa Lerner as a means of teaching her own children the importance of helping others who are less fortunate. Each year, the family organizes a school supply drive, collecting backpacks, notebooks, binders, crayons, colored pencils, glue sticks, highlighters and everything a student would need to have a successful school year.
Girl Scout Troop 10646 has been a longtime supporter of this program, as has Temple Beth Emet in Cooper City, which adopted Kids Helping Kids as one of its Mitzvah Day projects. Alaya Spa at the Bonaventure Resort also supported the cause.
But Lerner says the bulk of the donations come from the Weston community – friends and neighbors who look forward to this service project each year. “For many families, like mine, this has become an annual tradition. I had many friends who stopped by unsolicited to drop off donations because they know I always collect.”
With her son now a senior at Cypress Bay High School, Lerner says she’s been reflecting on how this program has taken on a life of its own over the years. “With Aaron graduating, he will not be part of this tradition of collecting and donating school supplies next year. It’s made me reflect on the first time we did this, when he was in first grade. I know this experience has instilled a value of ‘doing good for others’ and volunteerism in him, along with compassion and the willingness to help.”
She says what’s even more rewarding is seeing how Kids Helping Kids is no longer just a family tradition, but a community-wide tradition to give back.
This year, Lerner was joined by friends and family, as well as members of Girl Scout Troop 10646, in delivering the school supply donations to the school. She says it is always a rewarding experience as Principal Ducarmel Augustin and Assistant Principal Priscille Elie, along with many teachers, personally thank the kids for their generous donations and let them know how their efforts are appreciated by the students at Royal Palm STEM Museum Magnet School.
“Thanks to the support of the Weston community, Kids Helping Kids has grown so much over the past eleven years and touched so many children’s lives – both on the giving and receiving end,” shares Lerner. “I feel confident this project has taught many children how to give back and I hope this lesson sticks with them throughout their lifetime.”