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Students surprise downtown organizations with hand knit winter wear

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Kelly Koren has done kind deeds for those struggling with homelessness in the past.

“If you are blessed and fortunate I think it's your responsibility to give back,” she said.

That's why Koren is teaching students in her Lifeskills class at Brennan High School what giving is about.

For the past three months, the class has been loom knitting and creating scarfs, toques and gloves with hand warmers.

“I just had a vision one day. I wanted my kids to give back,” she said. “I know there's a great need in the community.”

In all, the class has made over 80 scarves, 60 hats, 50 personal provision packs, 50 soap packs and some dog toys. Each item comes with a tag with a different message.

“You are not forgotten,” reads Koren, who hopes to deliver the items to Street Help, the Downtown Mission, a school in the downtown core and the neonatal intensive care unit at Windsor Regional Hospital over the next few days.

“And in my trunk right now I have a bunch of blankets. I have other stuff I'm going to donate as well,” she said.

Abdullah Alkesm feels the learning has gone beyond the classroom for him.

“They taught me too, because you don't know what they're going through, you don't know their path so first of all they taught me you should always be nice to people,” said Alkesm who recently paid for Christmas decorations for a young family.

“It was just amazing. The feeling that they had was just like, that feeling I don't know how to explain it but like it was just amazing.”

Jennifer Cote is an education assistant who got emotional when talking about how their work in the classroom will pay off in the real world.

“I just want everybody to know that they belong even though sometimes it's a little difficult to realize you do matter,” she said.  

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