Hispanic Leadership Team ‘sweet cases’ Project to Benefit Illinois Valley Foster Teenagers

Summer Hoagland-Abernathy, IV Leader Editor-in-Chief

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Foster teenagers across the Illinois Valley only had garbage bags to hold their belongings until IVCC’s His- panic Leadership Team raised $600 this semester to help end this problem with “sweet cases.”

Team members traveled door-to-door, asking lo- cal businesses from Princeton, Spring Valley, Streator, Depue, Mendota and LaSalle-Peru to donate to the cause, which will help children who go through the Illi- nois Valley Youth Service Bureau.

The original objective was to raise enough money to buy reusable bags for the children to keep and to stuff them with gifts. However, according to Vice Presidentof the Hispanic Leadership Team, Erick Rosales, not only was the goal of $600 met, but the team collected a myriad of donations in the form of supplies as well.

St. Margaret’s Hospital donated 30 duffle bags sothat the team would have more money to spend on sup-plies; Flower Mart in LaSalle sent stuffed animals andOSF HealthCare donated wallets, shirts, notepads and chapstick.

The Hispanic Leadership Team will also be order- ing from Amazon hygiene products, travel kits, socks,fleece blankets, nail polish, deodorant and body spray.

Said Rosales, “We were trying to do something to kind of… brighten [a foster child’s] day, I guess you could day. It’s something nicer for them to be able toput all their stuff in.”

The Youth Service Bureau’s Coordinator of Home-less Services, Kelly Shymanski, can attest to how muchthe “sweet cases” come in handy for the foster children.

She explained, “These bags give them something tocarry their possessions in, and it’s something of their own. It can be awkward to ask a stranger for shampoo,

deodorant or a toothbrush, so it’s nice that these bags contain these type of items. We want the youth to feel welcome, so anything we can do helps.”

According to Shymanski, this donation is actuallynot the first round of “sweet bags” to go through the Illinois Valley Youth Service Bureau, but where the first sets went to younger children, these duffle bags will be geared specifically to 12 to 18 years olds.

The Hispanic Leadership Team will soon be choos- ing dates for the team and volunteers to pack and send the bags to the bureau.

And even though the donations have been collected already, it’s still not too late to give to this cause. For in-formation on how you can donate, Sara Dady, staff ad- visor for the Hispanic Leadership Team, can be reached at 815-224-0355, and donations can be made to IVCC Hispanic Leadership Team.

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