HS student athletes surprise Chicago kindergarten class with truck full of furniture, books

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Some student athletes are working to make a difference on and off the field. (WLS)

Some student athletes are working to make a difference on and off the field. A big group delivered a surprise to some younger students in Chicago.

It all started with a teacher's wish for more resources. She asked on social media and a group of student athletes delivered a big surprise.

Early Monday morning, a truck filled with new classroom furniture and hundreds of children's books were unloaded by student athletes from the city and suburbs then secretly carried into Manierre Elementary School.

"We're giving them multiple bins of books, I think seven bikes, scooters and the main focus was the reading center," said Lindsey Novak, a student at Glenbard East High School.

Kindergarten teacher Abena Story had no idea she and her class were about to be surprised. The students presented a $3,500 check, along with comfortable chairs to create a better reading environment for the class.

"My reaction was surprise. I would just say ecstatic, appreciative it was kind of overwhelming," Story said. "I'm just so grateful for them."

Story had taken to social media to ask the community for help with improving her classroom reading space. Manierre is located in the Old Town neighborhood and services mostly low income families. Buddy's Helpers, a non-profit which unites student athletes and teachers, answered her call with a Facebook Live telethon to raise money.

"I feel like it's really a rewarding experience to be able to do this for kids that may not have all I had when I was their age," said Kennedy Jones, a student at Homewood-Flossmoor.

The gift, bringing joy to kindergarteners who say they love to read.

"I feel about reading because it makes me learn and stuff so I get stronger," said Mounierre student Jaylin McIntosh.

"I feel really privileged to go to Latin and part of that privilege is also being able to share it with others and doing something with it," said Eleanor Pontikes, student at The Latin School of Chicago.

Buddy's Helpers engages student-athletes who are involved in a huge soccer tournament called the Pepsico showdown, which features more than 200 Chicago area high schools. Next month, they plan to do random acts of kindness.
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