Care Closet opens at Clermont school for families in need

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The Care Closet is open for business at Sawgrass Bay Elementary in Clermont. The room is stocked with basic essentials like food, clothing and toiletries for students and their families who may need a little help.

“I just felt like this is my big moment to make a difference in this world,” said Artemis Mason, 11, who helped organize the closet along with 14 classmates. The students, collectively called the Kindness Kids, spent a few days sorting and stocking everything on the shelves.

“If people need to find the right clothes and they're sorted then they can just grab the clothes they need and just take it and leave and that just makes me feel like I’m helping,” Mason said.

Teacher Katie Self helped the students get the project off the ground after she saw a similar set-up at another school in Florida. Self said, “The biggest thing I hope they get from this is just the act of kindness of giving and having that service part where they're blessing others through their kindness.”

Self said the students are also learning leadership skills. Sawgrass Bay is a Leader in Me School, which is a program and organization born out of Franklin Covey’s book, “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” Leader in Me schools focus on helping students develop leadership skills by joining action teams and working on service projects.

Self said, “Our hope is that every child has the opportunity to serve and show that they're a leader and this is the team they chose to demonstrate their leadership skills.”

Family School Liaison Judy Alviola said right now the Care Closet is in need of donations like coats, non-perishable foods and toiletries. Anyone interested in making a donation can reach out to Sawgrass Bay Elementary at 352 243-6110.