CSW Surpasses Emma’s Art Kits Goal
By Anthony Lee
Last year, the Charter School of Wilmington Student Government contributed to Jefferson Awards Foundation LEAD360 project Emma’s Art Kits, formerly Emma’s Art Cart. Recently, I interviewed senior Henna Castle, the Student Government representative who initiated the efforts here at the Charter School of Wilmington.
Anthony Lee: Not many people have heard of Emma’s Art Kits. What is the story behind this project?
Henna Castle: Emma Stumpf, who started Emma’s Art Kits, was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer at the age of seven. During her chemotherapy treatments, she would use art as a way to escape and later realized that she could share the joy that art gave her with other children, who were also in difficult situations. So, she took her plan for Emma's Art Kits to the Jefferson Awards Foundation LEAD360 competition, which she won in 2017. She is now working with the foundation to create 100,000 kits to give to children in need.
AL: How did you learn about this project, and what motivated you to pursue it?
HC: This past summer, my mom met Michele Fidance, a Jefferson Awards Foundation employee in charge of the Delmarva region, and Michele said she wanted a high school to join this project. My mom mentioned that I was on Student Government, and that's how it all began! Michele and I met up for lunch, came up with a plan to get Charter involved, and I took it to Student Government. At our meeting, everyone thought it was a great idea, so we came up with a way to raise money by using five dollars of every Homecoming ticket sold toward Emma's Art Kits. For the next few months after Homecoming, we [the Student Government] along with the CSW community packed countless bags every day to make a grand total of 10,055 kits.
AL: How have you worked with not only the Charter School of Wilmington Student Government but also the entire student body to help Emma’s Art Kits?
HC: I could not be more proud of the Charter community. So many people helped make our goal possible, from the Parent-Teacher-Student Organization to National Honor Society to students in study halls. Every kid that receives a kit will also receive a handwritten note from a Charter student, and that in and of itself is amazing! Before we came along, the largest donation was 300 kits, made by the Wilmington Police. In fact, Michele's co-worker Mallory told the police that they had made the most kits. When she heard of our accomplishment, she said, "Well, now I just lied to the police!"
AL: Anything else you would like to say?
HC: Thank you! I recently heard from Michele that Emma teared up when she heard of what we accomplished and that she would be honored to meet the students at the Charter School of Wilmington. I am honored to be part of this community, and I could not thank everyone enough for their endless support.
Update: The Charter School of Wilmington won the national award for activation of the Jefferson LEAD360 Project.