My faith in our youth was totally renewed today. Now I know teens aren’t all troublemakers, but that is so much what we hear and read about.

Students at Willis Middle school gave up their recess and study periods and some even their lunch times to come and help make sleeping bags for the homeless. Share is a non-profit organization founded by Donna Imel, who provides sleeping bags and health kits to the homeless. When I first met Donna and she told me what her goals were, I had no idea just how many lives she would touch in Delaware.

The students at Willis in just two days will complete 27 sleeping bags, that’s amazing in itself…but the lesson these students are learning, not just how to make a sleeping bag from recycled blankets, fabric and men’s ties and hand sewing it together with knots of care, but how to help someone truly in need.

Most of these students have probably never seen a homeless person or given much thought as where they bunk down at night, I’ll bet they will now.

While I sat there threading needles for the students to make their knots of care, I watched and listened to the soft chatter going on about what they were actually making and I sensed in those students a feeling of compassion and they were proud to be part this.

At this time of year, I am so thankful to have people like Donna Imel, and teachers such as Nikki Wright who go above and beyond to teach the lesson to our youth of helping others, whenever they can, no matter how old you are, there is always a small token they can give to make a difference and “taking responsibility together” they will make this a better place to live.

— Carolyn Kay Riggle

Mayor of Delaware