- Associated Press - Friday, June 22, 2018

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Children at a Kansas juvenile detention facility are learning the value of volunteer work by making stuffed animals and comfort kits for children experiencing hardship.

Detainees at the Sedgwick County Juvenile Delinquent Facility began creating comfort kits Wednesday with Sheriff Deputy Aaron Miller and volunteers from IMA Financial Group, the Wichita Eagle reported .

Each kit contains a children’s book, crisis information, a stuffed animal and a birth certificate for the toy. Local law enforcement can give the kits to children in difficult situations, such as house fires, car accidents or at court during divorce cases.

The children who receive the kits will likely never know who made them, or what their situation was, Miller said.

“Making these kits gives (the juveniles) a sense of purpose and pride knowing they can give back to the community despite being inside the detention facility,” he said.

All of the facility’s 52 children ages 10 through 17 will get an opportunity to make a kit this week.

“The kids, they’re all in here for a reason,” said Graciela Santiago, a senior independent living trainer at the facility. “But we all believe that everyone should have the opportunity to give back to the community and see that no matter what they’re in here for, they can give back. We want to see them succeed, and we want the community to see that these are kids, and they deserve a second chance.”

United Way provided the stuffed animal shells and Spirit AeroSystems provided stuffing. Becky Springer, volunteer coordinator at United Way of the Plains, hopes to help make 430 kits.

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Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com


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