SPARAT, NJ - Living in today’s society presents all kinds of challenges for many people. The students in Danielle Kopp’s senior Contemporary Literature class at Sparta High School were touched by the stories of kids living in foster care and decided to do something about it.

While reading informational articles about the obstacles confronted by those living in foster homes and for the families who adopt children from foster care, Kopp’s students’ researched ways that they could offer support locally. The students learned that foster children frequently are moved very quickly from place to place, often throwing their meager belongings into a garbage bag. They decided to find a way to help these children gain a sense of pride while adapting to new surroundings.

Joining with an organization called Together We Rise , the students created a fundraising page and raised $450 in ten days by reaching out to families, friends, and Sparta teachers. The students used the money to purchase 13 Sweet Cases and the contents to fill them.

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Sweet Cases are duffle bags that “allow children to have something of their own and it brings a smile to their face. The bags may also be used in the sad circumstance when a child must be removed from their home without notice,” said Kopp. Her students decorated the bags with paint pens and each was filled with a blanket, teddy bear, crayons, coloring book, toothbrush, and toothpaste.  The bags were donated to a local foster care worker in New Jersey to distribute to children in need.

Kopp said, “Together We Rise was easy and amazing to work with They are based in California- look for them on facebook. I hope we can do even more next year.”

As a new school year begins and a new class full of students confronts societal issues head-on, look to Sparta students to find a way to make a difference.