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Shaili Patel, Sydnee Brown and Gabe Magnuson, from left, DECA students from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High, deliver "Little Warrior Battle Bags" to Sydney Smith at Children's Hospital at Erlanger just in time for the holidays. (Contributed photo)

Students from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School recently delivered 30 bags filled with comfort items to kids at Children's Hospital at Erlanger.

Packaged by members of the school's DECA chapter, each of the "Little Warrior Battle Bags" contained a small stuffed animal, Play-Doh, a coloring book and crayons.

Though the items were meant to ward off boredom for children at the hospital during overnight stays, Sydnee Brown, a sophomore at LFO and vice president of public relations for the club, said the project's true purpose was to help the kids feel less threatened and overwhelmed by their health afflictions.

"It would be really tough for an adult or an older kid to be in that situation, but for a little kid, they don't know what the doctors are talking about around them; they don't know what their parents are talking about. They're completely clueless, and for them, that's super-scary," said Brown. "So I think a lot of the little things we put in there, no matter how small, really helps them to be distracted from either pain or worry."

Funds for the project were raised by a small group of DECA students under the supervision of the club's faculty advisor, Dewayne Watkins, but Brown said it wasn't just a handful of participants who played a role in the project's success. Many of the needed dollars came thanks to cash donations from classmates, local church members and other charitable residents in the area, making the effort bigger than just the club, she said.

"I think that shows these kids that the whole community is really rallying around them and wanting them to get through whatever they're fighting," said Brown.

The project also reflects the mission of the international DECA student organization, formerly known as the Distributive Education Clubs of America, which is to "prepare emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management," she added.

"Business is not all about the profit that you make or what your company is," Brown said. "It's about how you present yourself to the community and how you view your customers as valuable and the whole community as valuable."

Email Myron Madden at mmadden@timesfreepress.com

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