Lakeridge Elementary School K-Kids club officers support schools devastated by wildfires in Paradise, CA. From left: Fritz Hokanson, Oscar Hokanson, Oren Goldberg, Sydney Hawthorne and Emerson Woods. Madison Miller / staff photo

Lakeridge Elementary School K-Kids club officers support schools devastated by wildfires in Paradise, CA. From left: Fritz Hokanson, Oscar Hokanson, Oren Goldberg, Sydney Hawthorne and Emerson Woods. Madison Miller / staff photo

K-Kids club support California schools devastated by wildfires

Lakeridge Elementary K-Kids club hold “Lions’ Pride for Paradise Week” relief effort for Paradise schools.

For the past four years, students at Lakeridge Elementary School have been giving back to their communities. Through K-Kids Club, a community service club sponsored by Mercer Island Kiwanis and Lakeridge PTA, students learn about organizing projects that help others.

This year, students in K-Kids Club wanted to expand their borders and help those not on the island.

For their annual project, K-Kids students decided to support schools in Paradise, Calif. Schools in and around Paradise were hit hard by last year’s devastating wildfires. California’s “Camp Fire” was the deadliest and most destructive in the state’s history, causing 85 deaths and many injuries. The fire covered nearly 240 square miles and destroyed about 19,000 structures – including homes and schools. Most students in Paradise were forced to relocate due to extreme damage to school facilities and supplies.

For Lakeridge Elementary teacher and K-Kids Club teacher adviser, Amber Bobst, the devastation hit close to home. A close friend of hers lives in Paradise.

“My friend lost everything in the fires,” she said. “I was so happy when the kids wanted to do something in disaster relief. It’s cool to help these kids and schools in a tangible way.”

Lakeridge Elementary are supporting Paradise classrooms through “Lions’ Pride for Paradise Week,” through April 26. (The five-day effort began on April 22.)

At the beginning of the school year, K-Kids Club connected with Paradise schools throughColor a Classroom with Love to determine educators’ needs.

During “Lions’ Pride for Paradise Week,” each grade at Lakeridge Elementary will be assigned a specific Paradise classroom’s wish list of school supplies. Lakeridge families will purchase items off the wish lists, and the Lakeridge classroom that has the greatest donation total (by dollar amount) via the online wish list donations and Amazon Gift Cards will win the competition – and receive a party provided by K-Kids Club.

“We love our classes and we know it’d be hard to not have supplies,” fifth-grade K-Kids Club officer Oscar Hokanson said. “If we didn’t have what we have, it’d be really hard.”

To spread the word of their cause, K-Kids Club members worked together every Thursday after school to plan. The students were split into different committees, each working on ways to make the project be successful.

The K-Kids Club members have created a video explaining their mission. The video can be seen online at

The students also made posters and hung them throughout the school, and they have made morning announcements.

The K-Kids Club originally planned on just raising money or supplies to send to Paradise but the economics didn’t pencil out.

“There were some challenges at first,” fifth-grade K-Kids Club officer Sydney Hawthorne said. “We originally thought we would raise cash and send it to them, or collect supplies, but the shipping would be just too expensive. That’s when we came up with the idea of doing the online wishlists.”

Despite some initial hiccups, the club said planning “Lions’ Pride for Paradise Week” has gone smoothly.

To boost the K-Kids Club’s efforts, the Mercer Island Kiwanis Club made a $500 donation to Color a Classroom with Love, to support the K-Kids “Lions’ Pride for Paradise Week.”

“We’re so grateful for Mercer Island Kiwanis Club’s support,” Julia Hokanson, Lakeridge K-Kids Club Parent Adviser, said.

The online Paradise classroom wish lists will be released on Sunday, April 21 on the Lakeridge PTA website. To support schools devastated by wildfire, deliver donated Amazon gift cards to Lakeridge Elementary School’s front office, April 22-26.

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