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Ramsay Elementary students conducting service project

| Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Members of the Ramsay Student Council are busy separating items to be bagged for a special project they are conducting. From left are Ryan Borkowski, 8, Brianna Grieff, 9, Ryan Keller, Isaiah Porter, 9 and Logan Rega, 9. Marilyn Forbes | For the Daily Courier

Mt. Pleasant's Ramsay Elementary School's student council is collecting small toiletry items as part of a service project it is spearheading.

Since the beginning of the month, students have been collecting small items and monetary donations that will be donated to “Little Rays of Sunshine,” a program organized by Ramsay teacher and co-student council advisor Ryan Keller. The program helps to put together small bags of toiletry and hygiene items that are distributed to families in the five Pittsburgh area NICUs.

The program is part of the Emma Marie Keller Foundation.

“We try to do some type of service project every month,” said student council co-faculty advisor Mary Ann Bauer.

The 22 student council members sent home lists of items that could be used to stuff the bags.

“It's been going well so far,” Bauer said. “The kids have been bringing in things, and we have also received some monetary donations as well.”

Bauer said a parent offered to help with the project and arranged to have a collection box placed at the Dollar General in Mt. Pleasant.

The box will be located in the store until the end of February, but Bauer said that students will be collecting items a little longer.

“We are going to continue to do this through the beginning of March,” Bauer said. “We are still trying to get some businesses to help with this service project and collect more.”

The student council has conducted several projects throughout the year that benefitted nonprofit groups.

In November, students collected $1,000 through a Helping Hands project. Proceeds were donated to the American Red Cross.

In December, students collected small toiletry items that were donated to the residents of Harmon House. They also collected toys for Madisyn's Angels.

In April, students will be participating in an Autism Awareness project and to finish up the year in May, they will spearhead a walk for Juvenile Diabetes.

“I think that's great that they are doing this for us,” Keller said. Five years ago, Keller and his wife, Chrissy, lost their infant daughter, Emma, who was born several months premature.Keller said bags will be put together and distributed at Easter.

Items for the drive or monetary donations can be dropped off at the school now through the first week of March.

Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.

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