Kara Mathews has been helping people for “as long as she can remember.” The 17-year-old rising senior at Indian Creek School is directing a “Back to School Depot” where families can come and “shop” for free back to school clothing (kids and parents) and school supplies.
The event is scheduled for Aug. 25,4-7 p.m. and Aug, 26, 12:30-3:30 p.m. at College Parkway Baptist Church, 301 College Parkway, in Arnold.
The depot will be Kara’s culminating event as she seeks to attain her Girl Scout Gold Award. Each person who attends will receive 10 raffle tickets which they may use to “purchase” 10 items of clothing, accessories (for children and adults,) or back to school supplies. They will also receive a post card with a message of encouragement to pay the kindness forward to create a “ripple effect” in the community and are asked to write what they will do to keep the ripple going and send the postcards back.
The returned cards will be displayed on the bulletin board at the church, where Senior Pastor Patrick DeVane and Student Minister Jenelle Mejia have been leading their ministry in many community programs. Participants in the recent “Shipwrecked”-themed Vacation Bible School were asked to bring donations as part of the camp.
The donations have also been pouring in from individuals, and Kara already has more than 150 bags of items.
Girl Scout Troop 4608, of which she is a member, received their Silver Award several years ago. As middle school students, they revived a discarded library cart with sanding and paint, filled it with toys, and delivered it to children receiving treatment at Baltimore Washington Medical Center.
Two years ago, Kara and her classmates held a “Dresses to Dreams” event, where they set up a boutique with donated prom dresses and suits for young people in the Annapolis area. They were able to outfit 30 of them for prom.
Kara realizes this time of year can be “hard for families” with the added expenses of back to school. It is possible her spirit of altruism was learned from her mother, Allison Earley Mathews, who is a pupil personnel worker for Anne Arundel County Public schools. Her mother works with families to help address issues that can impact a student’s education, such as personal hardship.
Kara’s grandmother, Nancy Early, was a social worker. Kara and her mother stress the depot is “Open to All, and that anyone may come and receive items.”
In addition to her community service, Kara is a varsity athlete in soccer, basketball, and lacrosse. She is president and founding member of her school’s chapter of Key Club, and treasurer of the school’s National Honor Society chapter, and enjoys boating, fishing, and the outdoors.
She will be applying to college this year, and while unsure of a major, has an interest in medicine, both human and veterinary. For more information on donating to the depot, email firstname.lastname@example.org.