Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Kids doing good in Owatonna August 8, 2013

ALL TOO OFTEN we are quick to see the negative, to despair about the world today, to worry about what the future holds for our young people.

But then along comes something uplifting like a project undertaken by students from Lincoln and Washington elementary schools in Owatonna and my confidence and hopefulness are restored.

While accompanying my husband on a recent stop at St. Clair’s for Men in Owatonna to pick up his suit for our eldest daughter’s wedding, I noticed a basket filled with colorful art.

Houses 1

Of course, I inquired about the handcrafted pins, earrings and magnets and was pointed to a sign explaining the project.

Owatonna students, upon learning about the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy and the lives lost in that fierce storm last fall along the East Coast, decided to help. Thus the “Houses for the Homeless” fundraiser, initiated several months ago.

Houses 2

With mat board, markers and hand-painted papers, the young artists designed mini houses, a visual of the rebuilding process.

Already, I’ve been told (although not confirmed with project organizers), the project has raised $3,000 for Hurricane Sandy relief from those $5 per artwork piece sales.

If you’re feeling cynical today, or tomorrow, or the next day, about young people, then consider this fundraiser and these elementary school kids from Owatonna.

Houses 3

Students today, unlike those of my childhood, are growing up in a much different and bigger world. I don’t recall ever undertaking a single compassionate project during my school days. Activities such as “Houses for the Homeless” teach kids to think beyond themselves and their wants and needs. And that is a very good thing.

FYI: “Houses for the Homeless” pins, earrings and magnets are available for purchase in Owatonna at St. Clair’s for Men, Kristi’s Clothing, Cedar Floral Design Studio and Central Park Coffee Co.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling