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Copley teen helping youths moving from foster care

12/27/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Kristin Osborne is shown above with some of the household items she’s collected so far to help youths who are on their own after foster care through Summit County Children Services.
Photo courtesy of Kristin Osborne
COPLEY — Local Girl Scout Kristin Osborne knows she is fortunate to be in a family with two parents who make sure she has what she needs.

Now, for her Gold Award project, Kristin, 16, is trying to help youths not much older than she is who are faced with starting their adult lives without the support of their parents.

“I know how blessed I am to have a home and family who love me,” said Kristin, the daughter of Mark and Dana Osborne. “I could never imagine not having that.”

Inspired by a project at her church, Mt. Zwingli United Church of Christ in Sharon Township, Kristin is supporting youths who age-out of foster care through Summit County Children Services (SCCS).

“My church has been helping Summit County Children Services for a long time,” Kristin said. “The community liaison said there is a huge need of items for the emancipated youths.”

Through Project: Home Hope, Kristin said she is collecting household items that anyone starting life in a new home would need: linens, cleaning equipment and supplies, kitchen items, basic tools, lamps, clocks and even toiletries.

She said the items that are in most need are those that must be replenished, such as trash bags and light bulbs.

Kristin, a member of Troop No. 866 in Copley, said she started collecting items about a month ago and so far has amassed a collection of at least 150 items.

“I presented it to local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, and I’ve gone to a lot of my family’s and friends’ groups and things my mom is involved in,” she said.

She added that the Student Council at Copley-Fairlawn Middle School is expected to take part in the project in January, and she also plans to present it to her Student Council at Copley High School, where she is a junior.

Anyone who has items to donate may contact Kristin at Osborne.Kristin@gmail.com. She also will accept items Jan. 4 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the church, 2172 S. Medina Line Road. At that time she also will be organizing and packing things to take to SCCS, and students who need service hours are welcome to help as well, she said.

Kristin said the Gold Award is similar to the Eagle Scout designation for Boy Scouts. Once she decided on her project, she had to submit it to a committee at Girl Scouts of North East Ohio for approval. She will present a final report on the project after the January event, but she plans to keep collecting items every couple of months. Her church will take on the project permanently, she said.

So far, Kristin said she’s happy with the response she’s had from those who want to contribute.

“I think it’s going great and I’m really excited to get all the stuff in,” she said.

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