12-year-old Chloe Kepros, a seventh-grade student at LaSalle Middle School, is collecting new pajamas for kids in foster care, after being inspired by a story she heard on the Oprah Show.
“Chloe has always had a heart and soul that looks out for others, for animals and for people,” said her mom, Sara Kepros, a faculty member at Kirkwood Community College. “She’s always asking what she can do for someone else.”
Chloe had previously approached her mom about sewing bags for children in foster care.
“She was concerned because she had learned that children in foster care often don’t have anything to carry their possessions in when they move from house to house,” said Sara. “I don't sew, and so we kind of let that one pass. When she ask about collecting pajamas, I said ‘Sure, go for it, Chloe.’ I suggested we check with someone in the area to see if there was a need first.”
Chloe called Iowa KidsNet to see if her pajama drive could help area kids.
“It’s wonderful whenever a person comes forward to assist children in foster care, but it feels even more special when that person is another child," said Ashley Kyne, an Iowa KidsNet supervisor, who spoke with Chloe about her project.
"Having a pair of pajamas that is new, that is not a hand-me-down or the wrong size, can be a comfort to a child during a confusing and stressful time," said Kyne.
“It’s something simple that lets a child know someone cares,” she said. “It will also be helpful for foster parents in the midst of hectic schedules. Families get calls at all hours of the day and night for placements, and sometimes those children don’t have many belongings with them. This makes one less thing they have to quickly find for a child.”
In addition to pajamas, Chloe is also collecting journals and colored pens for kids in foster care.
“I love to write, and I think it’s a good way to get your thoughts out at the end of the day,” said Chloe.
Chloe has been collecting items through word of mouth, but would like to open her drive to the larger community. If you’d like to join Chloe’s efforts, you can drop off new pajamas (for children age infant through teenager), notebooks or colored pens at the Four Oaks Bridge office on 2100 1st Avenue NE in Cedar Rapids.
Iowa KidsNet staff and partnering agencies will help distribute the items to local foster children.
Iowa KidsNet is a statewide collaboration of agencies that utilizes a unique, cohesive approach to provide recruitment, training, licensing and continued support to individuals who wish to become foster and adoptive parents. Iowa KidsNet is a partnership of Iowa social service agencies, including Four Oaks, Children’s Square USA, Family Resources, Lutheran Services in Iowa, Quakerdale and affiliate Youth and Shelter Services. For more information, call 1-800-243-0756 or visit www.iowakidsnet.com.