December 21, 2018

Bags of Cheer 2018

CHEERFUL GIVERS — Students from Eleanor Skillen School 34 delivered Bags of Cheer to the school’s community partners on Friday, December 14. The bags, created by the students, include lots of holiday treats.

For the past three years, students at Eleanor Skillen School 34 have been spreading holiday cheer throughout the community — one brown paper bag at a time.

On Dec. 14, the school’s 300-plus students in Grades Pre-K through 6 distributed 500 Bags of Cheer filled with a variety of gifts personally made by them. The bags included hot chocolate with a candy cane, dog treats, gift tags decorated by students and a Christmas craft.

This year, the school’s Pre-K through first-grade students stayed at school and handed out bags to partners invited to the building, including Paws and Think, an organization that brings dogs for visits to help children sharpen their reading skills.

Students in Grades 2-6 boarded buses and hit the road to make special deliveries to various partners. Those visits included Sigstr, Chick-Fil-A, Southeast Community Services, Indianapolis Public Library and the Indianapolis Fire Department.

Students also spread a little cheer at IPS Central Services and Monument Circle.

“It’s always an impactful event,” said Jennifer Beutler, social worker at Eleanor Skillen and one of the organizers of Bags of Cheer. “It shows that no matter your circumstance, you always have something to give.”

Each year, students begin creating the bags and goodies after Thanksgiving break. In December, they spend almost an entire school day distributing and delivering bags to local businesses that give back to the school.

It’s an annual lesson on giving verses receiving. It also reinforces the school’s mission to

transform lives and one of its core values, which is to be kind.

“I believe in giving kids opportunities to grow in all areas of their lives and being productive members of society and in their communities,” said Beutler about the importance of Bags of Cheer. “We have them doing so much within the walls of the school and we want them to do more outside the walls. … I think it’s one of the most powerful things to do and be a part of.”