Elementary school teacher Ann Marie Aker had a vision in July about teaching children what it really means to be a philanthropist and contributor to society.

So she applied for an education grant and talked to the school principal, and in August the Clements/Parsons Elementary Kids Care Club was formed.

“CPE Kids Care Club was formed to raise the awareness of children about those less-fortunate,” Aker said. “It’s also about helping them learn appreciation, how to help and getting them involved in community service.”

On Monday, more than 40 club kids along with their guardians visited the Copperas Cove Fire Department and presented them with handmade cards and banners, and cookies and cupcakes the children decorated themselves.

“It’s really nice to be able to show them what we do,” said Charles Thompson, an emergency medical technician. “We hang up the cards and really appreciate all the things we receive from the community. When we’re having a bad day and look at those cards, it makes things better.”

Since its inception, the free after-school club has made handmade gifts of appreciation for the Humane Society, Toys for Tots, the nursing home and Cove House. Children from prekindergarten to fifth grade meet once a week to make the gifts and invite guest speakers to the school before they visit the organization of the month.

“I like it a lot because we make stuff and get to be creative with it,” said 11-year-old club member Casey Busby.

Pamela Huizing’s 8- and 11-year-old children are club members.

“It wonderful how the club teaches them to give back,” she said. “They learn to think about other groups outside themselves and visit places and make connections.”

Emily Kimball, 7, liked visiting the fire station because she wants to be a firefighter when she grows up.

“I want to drive a truck and help people all around the world.”

Aker said it was special to see so many children come out to say thank you to the firefighters.

“It just makes me want to cry with joy.”

Corinne Lincoln-Pinheiro | Herald

A journalist by trade, Corinne has written for both the military and civilian populations. She has a Master's in Writing and Bachelor's in English. She is also a military spouse and her family is currently stationed at Fort Hood.

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