Five Southampton Middle School eighth-graders and their friends spent Saturday morning at the hospital, putting together chemo kits for cancer patients.
The five boys founded Volun-Teen, a group dedicated to “growing up by giving back,” in November.
Among the founders was Andrew “Drew” Bailey Evans, who was recently presented with a Student Achievement Award by the Bel Air town commissioners.
His co-founders are Hayden Hicho, Kyle Wilson, Jayson Polesovsky and Ryan Skandalis.
“It’s for a good cause,” Kyle said. “Instead of playing video games, we can do this.”
This was making 125 chemo kits on Saturday morning at Upper Chesapeake Medical Center’s Kaufman Cancer Center.
“We can give back to the community,” Ryan said.
The group has about 245 members who aren’t required to do anything, Drew’s mom, Brooke Evans, said.
“They can pop in, pop out. A lot of them are student-athletes, so if they can’t make one, they can come to the next one,” she explained.
The kits included a handmade fleece blanket, a book, journal with special messages inside, hand lotion, lip balm, crossword puzzles, a magazine, socks, gloves, a water bottle, a homemade bookmark, pen and gum.
Money for the blankets was raised through a GoFundMe account, which raised about $1,800, Evans said.
The student volunteers formed an assembly line, grabbing one of each item and putting it in bags donated by the Chesapeake Cancer Alliance, from which a member was on hand to help.
Most of the items used Saturday were donated and what wasn’t, Evans purchased with money left over from buying the fleece, she said.
When the kits were done, they would go upstairs to infusion patients, Evans said.
Drew hobbled around helping. He’s supposed to be using his crutches and can’t play sports until August — Drew, who plays basketball and soccer, fractured his kneecap in gym class in December.
While the five founding members all attend Southampton, other members come from other middle schools including Fallston, Aberdeen, Bel Air and Patterson Mill as well as Harford Day and St. Margaret School.
Drew is planning to go to John Carroll for high school, he said.
“They’re a pretty tight knit group through sports. They won’t go their separate ways after eighth grade,” Evans said.
The “Vol” in the Volun-teen and orange moral compass in the logo pay homage to Drew’s favorite school, the University of Tennessee Volunteers.
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“We’re very, very lucky to have some students honored throughout the years, really amazing students,” said Susan Burdette, the chair of the Bel Air Board of Town Commissioners. “And I say we hope to have them back up on the dais someday.”
About a dozen family members and friends attended the March 18 meeting to watch Drew, on crutches, accept his award, which said he is “an outstanding student at Southampton Middle School and is an incredible young man.”
In addition to helping start Volun-Teen, Drew is also a strong student in all his classes and is “quick to help others or offer a word of encouragement to his peers,” according to the award.
“Drew’s positive outlook on life and presence make him a joy to be around,” the award stated. “Drew has a sense of humor and is considered a leader amongst his fellow students, friends and by the faculty of Southampton Middle School.”
Volun-Teen members will be walking in the Amanda Hichkad CCA Celebration Walk May 18 at John Carroll School and will be holding a Ladies Bunco Night fundraiser May 3.
They are looking for 100 women to play bunco from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Harford Day School. Tickets are $35 a person and includes two tacos with homemade chips and guacamole. Pairings Bistro’s food truck will be on-site and beer and wine will be available for $5 to $7. First prize is $150, second prize is $75 and the boobie prize is $50.
For tickets, visit https://www.ticketor.com/volunteenbunco/tickets/volun-teen-ladies-fiesta-bunco-night-155741#buy.