Back to school wishes come true for boys of Morning Star | Community Spirit
It was a day full of joy and surprise this past Sunday at the Morning Star Boy's Ranch. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints teamed up to make some special back to school wishes come true, and the gifts they gave came as a surprise to the boys at the Ranch.
When members of the LDS singles group approached Morning Star two weeks ago about working with the boys, Ron Irwin, Communications Director, had to turn down their idea to host a BBQ and baseball game at the Ranch for the boys due to confidentiality concerns. The singles group really wanted to do something for the boys, so after discussing the need for school supplies they had Irwin ask all the boys a question.
If you could style yourself and pick out your own clothes what would you want?
It's a question that Irwin says is very rare for the boys, ages seven to 17, that live at the Ranch. Morning Star purchases new clothes for the boys when it's needed, but they can't afford to buy the 19 boys the latest fashions.
“We get what fits and what's going to last,” says Irwin. It's all about utility. Each boy made a wish list of what they would like to have going into the new school year. The lists were given to the LDS singles group where each member was in charge of filling the list for one boy. The lists were divided up between 100 members from local LDS wards who went to work filling the lists.
Feeling like they could do more the church members had Irwin ask the boys another question. If you could have one special item what would it be? This weekend they came together to put together the wish list packs for the boys, complete with their special item wish.
“They came from all over the region to put these packs together for the kids,” says Irwin, who stopped by the LDS church as they were preparing. He was amazed at what he saw. Name brand clothes and tennis shoes, toys and sporting equipment, books and backpacks all put together with each individual boy in mind.
“They took ownership of their kids,” Irwin says about the commitment of the LDS singles group. “They talked about them as if they were their own.”
On Sunday, the boys gathered in a common room to receive their special gifts, but they had no idea that their wish lists were waiting for them. They didn't even know that anyone had seen their wish lists, let alone had purchased every single item on it for them. According to Irwin the room was filled with excitement and controlled chaos as the boys opened up their packs.
“For many of these boys it was the first time they had wished for something and it came true exactly the way they wanted,” says Irwin.
The significance of the wish lists has nothing to do with the boys having name brand things, but is about how comfortable the boys will feel amongst their peers on the fist day of school. Irwin says that being able to be on the same level as their peers when it comes to style makes a huge difference.
The LDS church went above and beyond just filling the wish lists. They even purchased clothes in a variety of sizes and styles for boys who have yet to arrive and as replacements as things wear out and the boys grow. In addition, they purchased a number of age appropriate books to refresh the Ranch's library, and to make things even sweeter for the boys, they included gift cards tailored to the interests of the boys.
Irwin says there is already talk of the group working with the Ranch again and he thinks they may have gained some great mentors from this event.
As for the boys? On Monday morning Ron Irwin's mail box was overflowing with 19 thank you cards for the people that made the transition into the new school year that much easier.