2014-05-16 / People

Helping children, one toy at a time

By Alex Acquisto
Staff Writer


Evan Enis, an eighth-grade student at Middle School of the Kennebunks, poses next to the box where students and faculty members can drop children’s toys, books, and nonperishable items to benefit the Community Partnership for Protecting Children. “It feels amazing just to be able to help out and to maybe keep someone from going through the trauma of a foster home,” Enis said. 
(Alex Acquisto photo) Evan Enis, an eighth-grade student at Middle School of the Kennebunks, poses next to the box where students and faculty members can drop children’s toys, books, and nonperishable items to benefit the Community Partnership for Protecting Children. “It feels amazing just to be able to help out and to maybe keep someone from going through the trauma of a foster home,” Enis said. (Alex Acquisto photo) KENNEBUNK — Evan Enis, an eighth-grader at Middle School of the Kennebunks, is giving back to York County, one child’s toy at a time.

As part of the community service requirements for his confirmation at St. Martha’s Church, made a choice to help children.

He began looking into community service opportunities in York County, and the Biddeford-based Community Partnerships for Protecting Children caught his eye.

Enis is completing his project with the help of Kids Helping Kids, a Stamford, Connecticutbased altruistic organization that encourages youth to lead and learn about how and why community service is valuable.

Typically, Kids Helping Kids sponsors projects such as parties for children who live in homeless shelters, or collecting donated books to help start a library.

“It stuck out for me,” Enis said of the organization. CPPC is a family-oriented organization which subscribes to the belief that “Keeping children safe and supported within their families, neighborhoods and communities is everyone’s responsibility,” according to its website.

A goal of the organization is to bridge the gap between community residents and local organizations while involving local residents in the operations of their own neighborhood services.

Strengthening the structure of a family from the inside would, theoretically, prevent rising populations in local foster homes. This idea made sense to Enis.

“I know they have foster homes for some kids, but wouldn’t it be great if the kids could stay in their own homes? This gives them something to have fun with and to occupy them with,” Enis said of his project.

For about eight days, Enis set up a homemade box in the lobby of the middle school. Students were encouraged to drop in new or used books, toys, board games and nonperishable items such as canned or dry food and diapers. Wednesday of this week is the last day to donate.

On Monday, the box was nearly filled to the top with items, and some books and games even spilled over onto the floor.

That box will be collected by CPPC on Wednesday and taken to homes in York County.

“It feels amazing just to be able to help out and to maybe keep someone from going through the trauma of a foster home,” Enis said.

Enis has volunteered with his church and family before, but something as hands-on as this is unprecedented for him.

When his friends or fellow students stop him in the hallway to ask about the project, Enis tells them, “I’m just trying to help kids stay in their homes and give them some things I think they would like.”

When asked how he would feel, being on the receiving end of items like this, Enis said, “I think it would be great. They are our future generation. If I help them now, they’ll be more likely to help out later.”

He hopes to volunteer next at an animal shelter.

Everyone helping everyone else is how a community should function, Enis said. “It’s just a one-for-all and allfor one kind of thing.”

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