Kay County 4-H’er helps youth in troubling times
Friday, February 5, 2021
Colton Tripp, a member of the OK-Okies 4-H Club in Blackwell, Oklahoma, developed his comfort bag community service project when he learned children displaced from their homes through court orders often had no time to gather their personal belongings.
“When I learned these kids didn’t get to take anything with them, it broke my heart,” said 15-year-old Tripp. “I decided to do something to help with that and started putting together comfort bags to give to police stations and the sheriff’s office in my county. They can give them to the children who are removed from their homes to help make it not so traumatizing for them.”
The pull-string bags contain a blanket, pillow, stuffed animal, crayons, coloring book, a picture book, toothbrush and toiletries. All items for the bags have been donated or purchased with donated funds. He is refining his sewing skills by making the small pillows included in the comfort bags.
Kay County Sheriff Steve Kelley said calls to his department to remove children from harmful situations are the some of the worst calls any law enforcement officer has to make.
“The deputies are often seen as the bad person removing a child from the home, and the child will always remember the guy in the uniform as the one ‘who took me from my mother or father and gave me to a stranger,’” Kelley said. “Anything law enforcement can do to ease the pain makes our jobs a little easier. The comfort bags are a welcome distraction, and they give the child items they sometimes don’t have at home or are able to take with them.”
Kelley added, “The Kay County Sheriff’s Office is very thankful for Colton and his amazing idea and we look forward to helping him with this project any way we can.”
Liz Nicholson, Tripp’s OSU Extension 4-H Educator in Kay County, said the boy is an exemplary member of his club and terrific role model for all 4-H’ers.
“Colton has always had a very giving heart, and his service shines in our community. He leads by example, is always kind and inclusive of others and spreads his kindness across the entire county,” Nicholson said.
Colton also is involved in a 4-H family and consumer sciences project, as well as a breads project. He has baked cookies for fire fighters and bread for families during the pandemic.
“His service heart and go-get-it attitude is outstanding to see in a younger member, and I love that he shares that county wide,” she said.
Tripp’s endeavor fits his citizenship/community service project area. He donated 20 comfort bags in January and hopes to increase that to 30 or 40 in February.
“Everything I’m doing with this service project is going right back into the community,” he said. “I love the feeling of helping someone and just knowing that you made their day and helped them in some way.”
Anyone who would like to donate items or make a monetary donation to help Tripp with his comfort bag project may email Nicholson at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about 4-H activities in Kay County, follow their Facebook page.