Tonawanda News

August 11, 2013

Helping kids with 'short' stories

By Jill Keppeler
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — A baggy pair of cargo shorts might have accompanied their owner on an adventure through the woods. 

A colorful pair of bermudas could have been present for a vacation to someplace new and strange.

Or a pair of gym shorts might have been worn as their wearer sunk the final basket for a new team championship.

The Ken-Ton Closet and the WNY Young Writers’ Studio are teaming up to encourage residents to imagine the stories ... and help make them come true.

Through the end of August, those who drop off a donation of new or gently used children’s shorts — and a “short” story about their prospective owner — to the studio at 3062 Delaware Ave., Kenmore, will receive a gift certificate for one free writing workshop this fall, said Jill O’Malley, director of the Ken-Ton Parent Alliance.

O’Malley credited Angela Stockman, founder and director of the WNY Young Writers’ Studio, with the idea behind the unique collection campaign.

“It’s really kind of nice,” O’Malley said. “She wanted to do something for the Closet, but incorporate writing into it. It raises awareness for us, but changes things up for her organization.”

Stockman said the idea, in part, came from the studio’s large front windows, and the dilemma of what to do with them now that the occupant is something other than a storefront. Add that to the service-oriented projects planned at the studio and those front windows were soon home to a display of shorts, although the theme will change as the projects change. 

“Part of what we do is show kids how to use their words to make a difference,” Stockman said. “It’s a way to get people who are walking past our windows to do some writing, too, and to do it for a good cause.”

The campaign is open to the public. People of all ages are eligible, although shorts must be for children. For those who just want to donate (without a story or gift certificate), the studio also houses a Closet collection box.

Shorts and stories may be dropped off at the studio from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. this coming Monday through Friday, or from 7 to 9 p.m. any Wednesday evening in August.

In addition to the shorts-collecting campaign with the studio, the Ken-Ton Closet will also host two collection events for some of its most-needed items, including new socks, new underwear and new school supplies, such as crayons, notebooks, folders and backpacks. 

The first collect event will take place from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. Tuesday at the Kenmore Village Improvement Society’s Children’s Concert Series on the front lawn of Kenmore Middle School. The second event will take place from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 17 at the KVIS booth at the Kenmore Farmers Market, 2919 Delaware Ave, Kenmore.

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