As a graduation requirement, Santa Rosa Academy (SRA) high school students are required to complete a community service project by the end of their junior year.
During their senior year, the students compete for one of five annual community service project scholarships. SRA teachers and staff vote for the top five projects. The selected students present their projects to the Governing Board that awards scholarships.
This year’s top five community service projects are as follows:
First Place: All Dolled Up by Bethany Bradwell
Second Place: Teen Duffles by Joy Martinez
Third Place: A Helping Hand by Kaylee Carrico
Fourth Place: Knitting Memories by Rylee Curry
Fifth Place: Klean Pets by Rosecylina McDonald
First place winner Bethany Bradwell collected pre-loved eighteen-inch dolls, fixed them up, and donated them to children in the foster care system.
“Helping out foster youth is near and dear to my heart because not only did my dad grow up in an orphanage and the foster care system, but my family has opened up our home to be a safe haven for children in similar situations. I have an extra special place in my heart for children in the system; I hope that the completed dolls I made and donated fill the void that the kids might have. Furthermore, I hope to improve the unfortunate circumstance by giving the children that friend that I was for my foster siblings.”
The refurbing process for each doll is a lengthy process. “The first step of disassembling each one is imperative not only to clean the dolls for the COVID-19 virus, but used dolls could also carry lice, bed bugs, scabies, and any number of unwanted germs,” Bradwell said.
Disassembling each doll includes removing its wig and limbs, de-stuffing the cloth body, and taking extra special care to clean it. “My process for making these companions for the children finishes with face brightening, dressing, and possible wig replacement to make it more unique,” Bradwell said. “Overall, this is a very lengthy process.”
Bethany’s goal was to provide foster children with something comforting that was made just for them. “Children in the foster system are going through hard times where they do not have family or friends, and many of them do not have a way to communicate with others besides whoever lives in the home with them,” Bradwell said. “Each child who received one of the dolls now has a stable friend they can bring with them wherever they go.”
The community service project sparked Bethany’s desire to continue her labor of love. “I am continuing my project refurbishing more pre-loved dolls to donate to foster youth,” she said. “When I presented my project to our school’s board, there was overwhelming interest from individuals who wanted to assist me in my project. While I continue working on my project, I would be more than happy to accept donations of craft supplies (acrylic paint, magic erasers, etc.), pre-loved eighteen-inch dolls, and any doll clothes. My email address is [email protected] Please feel free to reach out to me if you wish to help me with my project. I appreciate everyone’s support.”