After meeting Kids in Need Waikato co-founder Linda Roil and collecting for her charity this term, Aidan Tidd and Ella Millar have a new appreciation for the struggles many foster children face.
“They could be kids whose parents are abusive to them, or they’ve been kicked out because of drug use, or their parents aren’t in a good state to stay with them all the time…and when they’re being taken to their new home they go with literally nothing,” said Aidan, 12.
“Some of these kids have had no birthday presents, no Christmas presents, nothing. So don’t take your stuff for granted. Think about the other kids. Think about how they feel.”
Kids in Need Waikato is a Cambridge-based charity founded by Graeme and Linda Roil that provides care packs for children in care, personalised to meet each child’s needs.
Aidan and Ella, who are in the same year 8 class at Cambridge Middle School, independently came up with the idea of colleting items for the organisation after they were challenged to create an innovation project to work on throughout term 2.
When they found out they had the same brainwave they decided to team up to “make a bigger impact”.
They made posters, visited every classroom in the school and took their campaign to the wider community through Facebook.
They also invited Linda Roil to school to talk to their syndicate, which Aidan felt had “brought more kindness into the school”.
Last week their classroom became a collection point for donated clothes, shoes, toys, books and school bags, and personal care products such as toothbrushes, toothpaste and soap.
Items flooded in, filling more than 20 supermarket shopping bags.
“We’ve had a lot of support from everyone; it’s just overwhelming how much we’ve collected and how much people care for those kids,” Aidan said.
Ella said one parent alone had brought in 5-8 bags of clothes, toys and bathroom products, and a teacher had donated a baby change table.
“It’s crazy how much people care and how much one person can do to help charity and people in need,” she said.
Aidan and Ella’s teacher, Jacira de Hoog, said the students had worked hard to improve an aspect of their community and had set themselves apart with their selfless actions.