Students Learn Art of Giving

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The desks of many underprivileged students around the world are a little fuller this year thanks to some charitable Newport Beach kids.

Several Newport Harbor High School students created a club last year in an effort send school supplies to less fortunate students. The group, called Orlando’s Outreach and Catty’s Kids, was formed by Clay, Logan and Mollie Friend and Caroline Graham after some of them visited Costa Rica during their school break last summer. The club is named after the Friends’ contact, Orlando, in Costa Rica, and Graham’s friend Catalina, nicknamed Catty, in El Salvador.

During the trip they met children in need of basic school supplies, items often taken for granted back home, and they felt inclined to help. All of the club founders were already involved with other charities, including the Beach City Service League and the National Charity League, and were comfortable with the idea of reaching out and helping others, said BCSL member and mother to three of the club’s founders, Susan Friend.

With support from the Service League organization, the club sent more than 200 pounds of school supplies to a school in Costa Rica during their first year.

“For the last two years, we literally have had bags of school supplies dropped on our front door,” Susan Friend said.

Members of the student club spread the request for donations by word of mouth, weekly bulletins and flyers posted in neighborhoods.

“The community response (has been) amazing,” Susan Friend said. “And it is surprising and heartwarming at the same time for the founders  to realize that people in this community really care about others.”

The items are then sorted and packed for shipping in backpacks or pencil boxes.

The first big package received free shipping inside a container already headed for Costa Rica, Susan Friend said, after extensive Internet research and help from Allied Shipping. The supplies went to underprivileged kids attending Escuela Cordoncillo de Volcan school in the Volcan District.

The club is now in its second year and its latest charitable effort had the Newport students filling pencil boxes and sending them with the NHHS varsity boys basketball team to a center for abused children in Puerto Rico.

“These kids have nothing more than the clothes on their backs,” Logan Friend said about the visit to the center in Puerto Rico.

Everyone involved felt good about seeing the joy on the children’s faces after receiving the boxes of crayons, markers and other items, he said.

The club will be filling pencil boxes again in February, readying them to be sent to students in need in El Salvador.

The club is primarily supported by the Beach City Service League, a local philanthropic organization for high school boys to work with their mothers in the league to initiate and promote charitable endeavors, foster the mother-son relationship and develop community leaders through a structured program of community service, educational, leadership and cultural experiences.

Orlando’s Outreach and Catty’s Kids hopes to continue to grow and serve those in need both locally and globally, said Susan Friend.

“When it started we had no idea it was going to be so well received,” Susan Friend said. “We have had great response.”

The club also hopes to find a local school with kids in need to hand deliver the donated supplies. The founding students also hope to eventually hand off the club to others in hopes their efforts will continue to grow long after they graduate high school.

 

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