Heartland United Way partners with local high school students to start Kits 4 Kids

(Credit: Alicia Naspretto, KSNB)

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Heartland United Way is thinking ahead to summer and how they can help students keep their minds active this year.

The group partnered with local high school's Youth Leadership for Tomorrow clubs to start Kits 4 Kids. The idea is to give children from kindergarten to 3rd grade backpacks full of activities like puzzles, books or jump ropes to help keep them active and moving when they aren't in school.

"Kids look forward to going to the pool and doing a lot of fun activities which can enhance their learning as well," United Way Director of Development, Stephanie Kissler, said. "But having books, games, mad-libs are fun. Just any items that we will be collecting will keep them learning."

Research shows that when children have an idle mind over the summer, they can lose up to a month of learning. This campaign is meant to help prevent that.

"When school starts back up in August, teachers are spending a good four to six weeks getting kids caught back up to where they ended the previous school year," Kissler said. "The more exposure and access they have to games and books over the summer months helps keep their learning engaged."

Donations will be collected through March, then delivered to Hall County Elementary Schools in April.

Donations can be dropped at any of the following locations:
- Grand Island Senior High
- Northwest High School
- Grand Island Central Catholic
- Doniphan Trumbull High School
- Heartland United Way Office
- Central Community College
- Fedex
- Prinicpal
- Shoemaker Elementary
- Goodwill
- Peace Lutheran Church