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Shopping with a higher purpose

Nearly 100 children from City Light Home for Women and Children and Interfaith Sanctuary Shelter visited Sketchers, Target and the Idaho Pizza Company, accompanied by Bishop Kelly students from PATHS. BK student pictured Charlotte Keating. (Courtesy Photos/Lauryn Hodge)

BOISE – Bishop Kelly students took nearly 100 children back-to-school shopping. The children, with their parents, are currently residents of shelters in Boise. The students who assisted them on the shopping excursion are members of a Bishop Kelly ministry dedicated to serving underprivileged children, known as “Program Assisting the Homeless Students” or PATHS.

The mission of PATHS is to provide underprivileged children with resources to learn, participate and enjoy school, helping them to stay on the “path to success.” Another goal is to unite Bishop Kelly students with each other through service to their community. Some PATHS activities and events also serve as fundraisers whose proceeds are given to homeless shelters in the Treasure Valley, especially City Light Home for Women and Children and Interfaith Sanctuary Shelter.

The PATHS program received financial assistance from the Nagel Foundation, whose mission is to help non-profits in southwest Idaho enrich communities by educating and serving citizens. PATHS was awarded a Nagel Community Grant benefiting organizations that care for people and promote the common good. The Nagel grant enabled PATHS to take the nearly 100 children on a back-to-school shopping excursion for shoes and clothing.

Vanessa Malsam, a senior at Bishop Kelly and one of the leaders of PATHS, sent the Idaho Catholic Register the following article about their recent service project.

BK student pictured Gavin Vincelli and Darren Hays . (Courtesy Photos/Lauryn Hodge)

BK student pictured Grace Behbehani. (Courtesy Photos/Lauryn Hodge)

The world tends to view teenagers as lazy, video game-obsessed, immature, food-loving rebels, but Bishop Kelly student volunteers have shattered this stereotype.

PATHS is a club at BK dedicated to organizing community events for the kids of City Light Home for Women and Children and Interfaith Sanctuary. Volunteers from PATHS also serve

as tutors and mentors for the kids. Over the summer, PATHS organized a back-to-school drive for around 100 children from the two aid agencies, providing shoes and clothing for the upcoming school year.

To help out, there were almost 60 Bishop Kelly student volunteers, 30 of whom were Bishop Kelly football team members. These students gave up 6 hours of their summer day to spend time with the kids and help them shop.

The kids from City Light Home for Women and Children and Interfaith Sanctuary got to shop at Sketchers and Target, where the workers were very patient and helpful. At Sketchers, the volunteers helped each kid pick out a pair of new shoes. The shoes ranged from light-up sparkle sneakers to dinosaur-themed tennis shoes, and the kids couldn’t have been more excited.

Afterward, everyone headed to Target to pick out a new wardrobe. The kids had volunteers who helped them find the right sizes and try everything on. Once all the work had been done, everyone headed to Idaho Pizza Company for lunch, and the kids loved connecting with all the Bishop Kelly High School students! Nearly every kid got to spend time with an older helper, which was really special for them.

The event was super successful, leaving many kids ecstatic about their new purchases and delighted with their new teenage friends. “Today was so fun” could be heard throughout the pizza lunch from multiple kids, and their gratitude was overwhelming.

— Vanessa Malsam

(Courtesy Photos/Lauryn Hodge)

Bishop Kelly World Languages Department Chair Mary Bieter said the recent PATHS service mission was “as good for the homeless children as it was for our students. Just seeing the needs of the children is very helpful for our students.”

If you enjoyed this story and would like to read more like it, please consider buying a subscription to the Idaho Catholic Register. Your $20 yearly subscription also supports the work of the Diocese of Boise Communications Department, which includes not only the newspaper, but this website, social media posts and videos. You can subscribe here, or through your parish, or send a check to 1501 S. Federal Way, Boise, ID, 83705: or call 208-350-7554 to leave a credit card payment. Thank you, and God bless you.

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