Saturday, August 11 was an exciting and exhilarating day for a group of 130 school age children at the Petaluma Kohl’s Department store. By 7 a.m. parents, volunteers and youngsters were lined up waiting to enjoy a day of shopping and being able to purchase school clothes that would take them through the school year.
Kevin Chapin, who was president of the 20/30 Club during the years of 2009 and 2011, says he enjoys the children’s shopping spree immensely. The Santa Rosa, Petaluma and Sebastopol 20/30 clubs go to the Boys and Girls Clubs, Catholic Charities and other non-profits to determine which youngsters will be granted the shopping spree. The club will fund raise and work year-round to make sure that the event will be special for each and every one of their little clients.
Nick Knudsen the present 20/30 president says, “It is fun for all of us and the hard work pays off to see the joy on each child’s face.”
Each year children start or return to school and many of these children have no school supplies, clothes or a good sense of trying to fit in with a new group of kids or a new school. Give a child the confidence to start the school year off right and the 20/30 club tries to do that each year with the help of Kohl’s to make the children feel much better.
Sebastopol, Petaluma and Santa Rosa 20/30 clubs took approximately 130 children back to school shopping. Each child was accompanied by an Active 20-30 volunteer who had a gift card loaded with $160 to be spent on jeans, t-shirts, sweatshirts, shoes, underwear, socks, a winter jacket and everything else you could possible think of to outfit a child for the new school year. How great it is to see children run through the store and saying I think this would fit me and how about a new pair of Nautica shoes (seems to be the theme this year) do you think this color shirt would look good on me?
When the children and parents arrive they go into the store’s break room and another huge surprise is in store for them. Haircuts! Volunteers from local salons are on hand to cut, slick and try to give them the style the children are requesting. The salons have set up a traveling station consisting of new oil barrels that have been outfitted to hold a large mirror and a door cut into the side to hold the essentials the ladies need for three hours of cutting hair.
Eleni Weber has been a salon volunteer for six years. She cuts about 15 heads in the three hours and says, “It makes me feel good to do this for the children. Kids want to feel good to look neat and confident to go back to school. This is just everyday work that I do to feed my family and the one time a year I can help a child, it just feels really good.”
If a Kohl’s assistant volunteers for this event, Kohl’s donates $500 for each volunteer which goes back to the clubs. As of 6:30 a.m. about $2,500 had been donated back to the 20/30 clubs which helps tremendously. After the shopping outburst of laughter and glee, each child receives a new backpack filled with school supplies, including crayons, colored markers, paper, pencils, erasers, rulers, binders and more and then a beautiful and delicious breakfast is served before they head home with their new purchases.
The Active 20/30 of Santa Rosa #50 meets every Tuesday at lunch and if you are a male between the ages of 20 and 39 and live in the Santa Rosa Area and would be interested in joining a club, contact Nick Knudsen at 707-566-4000.