Dec. 2, 2016



When one of the teachers at Eleanor Skillen School 34
brought up the idea of doing a schoolwide Day of Service in December, several options
were discussed. What staff and students all agreed on was spreading holiday


On Dec. 14, a group of 150 students and 15 chaperones from
Eleanor Skillen will board busses and travel to downtown Indianapolis that
morning to deliver “Bags of Cheer” to random employees at businesses on
Monument Circle.


Filled with everything from reindeer food (a mixture of oats
and edible glitter) to gingerbread ornaments, hot chocolate kits and candy
canes, students — guided by chaperones — will randomly gift the bags to local


“With the holidays coming up, we thought that we should do ‘Bags
of Cheer’ for people in our community. So we’re going to make 200 bags,” said
Eleanor Skillen Assistant Principal Brandy Zollman. “Some of the bags will be
distributed when we take the field trip to Monument Circle. Others will be
given to some of the people in the community that we work with who donate to
our school and to our food pantry.”


The bags — and the items inside — will be created by the
school’s 500 students, from kindergarteners to the sixth-graders. Each grade
will have a different part of the project to fulfill.


To help the plan go off without a hitch, the school is working
with local businesses Sigstr and High Alpha — both companies are located on
Monument Circle and have agreed to let students and staff use their buildings
that day to keep warm between deliveries.


Allowing the students to personally hand out the bags is a
large part of the project.


“We really want to stress that the kids see the actual
people that they are giving the bags to,” said Zollman. “In the past, when
we’ve done something like this, if we’ve collected something, the kids don’t
get to see the follow-through or the real humans that they are giving it to and
the affect that it has on them.”


The “Bags of Cheer” project, which is in its first year,
falls in line with Eleanor Skillen’s motto: Choose Kindness.


“We want to teach the children that it’s important to give.
Being young, they may not have a lot to give or feel like they can’t, but
everyone has something to offer,” said Zollman.