Someone You Should Know: School nurse giving the gift of celebration

Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 10:06 AM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Kristin Clark is the school nurse at Journey Elementary School who found a way to share the gift of celebration.

“One of my passion projects is making sure we have great resources in town that kids are connected to all of the things they need so they don’t miss out on childhood moments,” said Kristin.

“So in my background, I came from PEDS and Emergency and I saw how in our own backyard we have kids who don’t have all of the opportunities. I remember one time, I don’t remember where I heard it, but I heard a kid tell me they never had a birthday party and that stuck with me. Because I couldn’t imagine not having a birthday party and how sad that was because that is such a core memory for kids,” said Kristin.

With prices rising and uncertain times, more families cannot afford to give their children parties to celebrate their birthdays.

“I had a family reach out and they have a child that has never been able to have a birthday party and so they are very excited about the idea of being able to have these supplies brought to them. I think it is a fantastic idea,” said School Counselor at Journey Elementary School Janel Prahm.

The school partners in the backpack program with Feeding South Dakota.

“We have the backpack program here. Which doesn’t have a lot of requirements, it’s basically kids need backpack food for the weekend and we give it to them. I saw the same thing for this program, we wouldn’t turn anyone away, whether it’s one of our students or a younger sibling and they need to have a birthday party, all kids should have birthday parties,” said Kristin.

Through Amazon Wish Lists and donations Kristin makes Birthday Boxes into themes for each child.

“She reached out and asked about Birthday Boxes and I was supportive of the idea because I think it’s awesome that every kid is able to celebrate a birthday,” said Prahm.

Inside the box are enough materials for a party. They include decorations, plates, cake ingredients, and activities.

This also allows families and their children to create the experience together and bond.

“I remember my birthday parties as a kid, it’s been a long time, and I love watching my kids’ birthday parties and seeing their friends, and being able to pass that on to our students is a really cool thing we can do here,” said Kristin.

Kristin asks the community to pitch in to allow students and their siblings to feel special through a Birthday Box.

“Why have we not been doing this sooner? This is an easy thing we can do at school to support kids,” said Prahm.