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Kennedi’s heart

Sixth grade student gives cold weather apparel to her peers

Three weeks ago, when the temperature took a dip, all Kennedi Knowles, 10, realized was that she was cold enough to put on a jacket before school. As she was being driven to school, she noticed a number of students walking to school without warm outerwear. The Garvin Tynes Primary School student said that made her sad to see, because she knew that, if she was feeling cold, her fellow students walking along the streets were also feeling the dip in temperature.

Kennedi, the daughter of Kendal and Shanti Knowles, did not initially say anything, but when she went home that evening, she told her mother that she wanted to purchase jackets or sweaters for children who don’t have any.

Shanti Knowles asked her daughter how they would do that, and Kennedi said they could try raising funds to purchase jackets and sweaters and/or collect used items in good condition. Her mom said the idea sounded like a good one, and she decided to help.

Her initial goal was to hand out 50 sweaters and jackets.

To achieve her goal, Kennedi solicited sponsorship from corporate Bahamas, family and friends to get the initiative she called the Kids Helping Kids – Warming Hands and Minds Jacket and Sweater Drive off the ground. In a few short weeks, she had collected $1,200 and had purchased 52 jackets, surpassing her goal. She has already commenced distributing the jackets in time for the winter season.

Kennedi presented 10 jackets to her peers at Garvin Tynes Primary on Tuesday, November 28; on the Monday before, she had presented another 10 to students at Gerald Cash Primary School. She has plans to make donations to Cleveland Eneas Primary, E.P. Roberts Primary and Albury Sayle Primary Schools as well.

Prior to making a donation, Kennedi and her mom contacted a school’s guidance counselor for guidance in ensuring that they would be helping children most in need and so they could get specific sizes to help specific children.

Jumpstarting the initiative was Knowles’ employer, the Nassau Airport Development (NAD) Company, which purchased Kennedi’s first 10 jackets; P.J. Building Supplies also sponsored 15.

The preteen has since begun attracting the attention of corporate Bahamas for her effort, with a number of entities requesting meetings with her.

Having surpassed her immediate goal, Kennedi has made it her mission to collect as much cool weather outerwear that she can to help as many schools as possible.

“It makes me feel like I’m doing a good thing to help others,” said Kennedi.

“I hope I can raise funds to help as many children as I possibly can.”

Each new jacket Kennedi purchases locally costs approximately $35. She receives a 10 percent discount from Sandy’s for each item she purchases from that store. The store also stocks most of the colors they need — hunter green, burgundy, red, brown and navy blue, which encompass most primary school colors. Knowles said they’ve also resorted to making purchases at American store Walmart when they can get the correct school colors, to ensure they can make their funds stretch, as they can get them there at a significantly cheaper price.

Knowles was proud of her daughter’s willingness to step up to help her peers.

“You don’t usually see young kids thinking about others,” she said.

Kennedi was a Brownie, and is now a Girl Guide and president of Garvin Tynes Primary School’s Student Christian Movement (SCM), whose motto is “Serving others, giving to others”.

“To see all of the time she’s spent in these organizations that she’s actually learned from it, and now she wants to do something… I can say I didn’t waste my time sending her anywhere,” said Shanti Knowles. “She usually does it in a group, but now that she wants to do it on her own, I’m really proud of her.”

Knowles said she was happy Kennedi gave away sweaters and jackets without fanfare, because, for the sixth grade student, it was about the act of giving and not receiving attention.

As they say, no good deed goes unnoticed. Kennedi’s didn’t, and it came to light during the Yuletide season, a time when people are eager to receive.

“I’m hoping she continues to give, because it’s always better to give than to receive,” said Knowles.

Kennedi, who also serves as prefect and head girl at Garvin Tynes Primary, is an honor roll student with a 3.65 grade point average (GPA).

School principal Carolyn Wright-Mitchell said the school has seen Kennedi blossom into the born leader that she is, and that, at the school, they view her as a servant leader.

“Kennedi came up from preschool here at Garvin Tynes, and we have seen her blossom. She was always the one that was the honor roll student and on the principal’s list. She’s a hard worker, and really does not settle for anything below the B. She’s always aspiring to get all As. She does her very best,” said Wright-Mitchell.

Wright-Mitchell said Kennedi is involved in almost everything on campus, including most of the 13 clubs that they offer.

“All of the organizations she’s been a part of helped to groom her to be the leader that she is, and even the servant, so we look at her as more of that servant leader,” said Wright-Mitchell.

She said Kennedi was a perfect choice for head girl and prefect, as the school looks for a well-rounded student to hold the title.

“When we choose our prefect, we look for a well-rounded student, so it’s not only academic. Kennedi is involved in the choir, involved in track and field… all sorts of different clubs at school. We have 13 clubs, and she’s involved in a lot of them. She’s a well-rounded student and she learned in the clubs how to be a servant, how to serve others, how to care, how to love and also how to lead and be a good role model for her peers,” said the principal.

Wright-Mitchell said her school supports Kennedi in her initiative and hope she’s able to get the sponsorship she needs to purchase sweaters and jackets and be a blessing to the students in this season.







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