Making a Difference: PWHS DECA and Cradles to Crayons
by Bailey Kassis, Plymouth Whitemarsh High School junior
On November seventh, PW DECA volunteered at the Cradles to Crayons Giving Factory to sort clothing, winter coats, shoes, school supplies, books, and other children's necessities that will be distributed out into the community. Cradles to Crayons is a nonprofit organization that collects, sorts, and distributes quality items to ensure children within the community have what they need to be successful.
At the Giving Factory in Philadelphia, Cradles to Crayons accepts volunteer groups like DECA to join their cause by separating us into stations that take on different roles so donations can be packed and distributed as efficiently as possible. There were several stations running when we volunteered, such as clothing folding, book repairing, shoe cleaning, packaging, and donation sorting, which we were tasked with completing. From start to finish, we emptied about seven large donation bins.
Cradles to Crayons night was in conjunction with an ongoing DECA clothing drive, which we continue to collect for. All of the donated items go to Cradles to Crayons, and it’s been very fulfilling to see the donations pile up at PW, knowing we are helping so many children in need. I was able to talk with the staff a bit, and it’s truly remarkable how beneficial each donated item is to Cradles to Crayons. Most people think they only collect coats, but they collect clothing and coats (youth sizes 0–20 and adult sizes small & medium), new socks and underwear, new pajamas, shoes, boots, sneakers, and sandals (infant/child sizes 5–13 and adult sizes 1–10), books (especially baby board books), new arts and crafts/school supplies, unopened diapers and training pants, and new hygiene items.
My favorite part of volunteering at Cradles to Crayons was seeing the bins of unsorted clothes dwindle as we diligently worked to sort as many items as possible. DECA is a business club that relies heavily on coordination, collaboration, and communication, each of which was emphasized by this service experience. In addition to volunteering our time, each DECA member also brought a donatable item on Cradles to Crayons night, and, collectively, we were able to fill a whole donation bin. One of the most rewarding parts of volunteering at Cradles to Crayons night was seeing the sets of donations being packaged to go out into the community because it was a form of direct service.
The results speak for themselves, as Cradles to Crayons Philadelphia has served over one million children across the greater Philadelphia area. This is a service experience I would recommend to anyone, with or without prior knowledge. You can see right away the impact you’re making in your own community, which is a humbling experience.
The Plymouth Whitemarsh High School DECA club prepares students to be emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management. PWHS DECA members regularly perform well in regional and state competitions. At the 2023 international conference, DECA member Abby Boegner was named a finalist in the Integrated Marketing Campaign category, and the PWHS chapter was recognized for its service, advocacy, and public relations.