Recently Olivet High School fulfilled a technology grant by purchasing several hundred laptops. Leftover after the purchase were hundreds of carrier style laptop boxes. With the inspiration of her young daughter, Wendy Murray, media specialist and online mentor at Olivet High School, came up with an idea for the leftover boxes.

In the next couple of weeks Murray, along with several high school students, will be leading the way to decorate and fill the hundreds of laptop boxes with art supplies. The boxes are to be distributed locally to children at the SIREN Eaton Shelter, as well as local hospitals. Included in the art supplies will be markers, paper, stickers, and crafts.

Murray thought of the SIREN Eaton Shelter specifically when she came up with the idea.

“When kids go to the SIREN shelter, they’re getting general life supplies,” said Murray. “These are turning nothing into something. It’ll take their mind off a bad situation.”

Murray knows there’s something about being creative in the midst of turmoil that is healing for anyone’s mind, especially a child’s. Children are in constant need of entertainment, and providing them a few simple tools to keep their imaginations moving is what project START is all about.

Project START is so named by the combination of “art” and the first letters of the project’s first donor. The Illinois based friend of Murray donated $1,000 to kickoff the project, which has allowed Murray to purchase the items needed for each box. Along with art supplies, the boxes will likely have small toys for smaller children.

Not only will the laptop boxes be filled with goodies, various groups are volunteering to decorate and wrap them. An eighth grade art class in Olivet will potentially take on a good portion of decorating, and other organizations in the area have also volunteered to take some of the boxes to decorate and wrap. According to Murray, some boxes will be wrapped with blank paper so children can color and decorate them as they please.

Murray is grateful for the enthusiasm of her friends, students, and volunteers. The students helping her are not part of any particular school organization, but simply students who frequent the high school library. It’s the things as simple as some empty boxes, a handful of markers, and a few ordinary people trying to make a difference that can make the day for a child in need.

“I can’t fund a new life, but I can give them something, even just for a moment,” said Murray.