In the spirit of Easter, students at Magical Journey Learning Center in Ahwatukee made Easter baskets to be donated to Children’s First Academy in Phoenix.

The idea came about one day when Amy Williams, a volunteer at Magical Journey Learning Center, substituted for the school, began explaining to the kids about Children’s First Academy.

Williams, who also mentors at Children’s First Academy, said nearly 98 percent of the population at the nonprofit, open-enrollment kindergarten through eighth grade public charter school was homeless.

First-grader at Magical Journey Learning Center, Jude Sosa, said they wanted to find a way to cheer up students at Children’s First Academy during the holiday.

“We’re just kind of collaborating and seeing what we can do to make a difference,” Williams said.

Magical Journey Learning Center has donated baskets to different places in the past, but this was the first year it donated baskets to the school for homeless and underprivileged children.

Michelle Willis, of Magical Journey Learning Center, said each of her students formed an assembly line and filled the Easter baskets with coloring books, colored pencils, candy and eggs. The school donated 17 baskets to Children’s First Academy.

Staff at Magical Journey Learning Center has built a relationship with Children’s First Academy by assisting them with hosting different lessons for the children and donating books.

Students from both schools also began forming relationships by becoming pen pals, which Williams said gave students from Magical Journey Learning Center a better understanding of kids who were less fortunate than others.

“It’s part of our program here to teach caring and empathy for people, so they were really happy that they were going to be able to help,” she said.

Teaching their students about caring for others came about by them learning about the ripple effect, which goes toward sending out good vibes throughout the community and becoming a role model for leadership.

“I think my kids were moved by knowing that there are homeless kids and they wanted to know what they could do to help,” Willis said. “It kind of grew from that.”

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