Joy Bags illustrate the value of mentoring
Youth gains confidence and independence through program
By Chad Smith
Shown is Khloe Stermer, a Helping Services mentoree. (Submitted photo)

Who knew that Christmas joy could be put in a bag? Autumn Nolan and Khloe Stermer, both of Cresco, distributed handmade bags full of gifts and treats to those in need of some holiday cheer last month.

Nolan, 19, is a volunteer mentor to 11-year-old Stermer through Helping Services for Youth & Families of northeast Iowa. Their relationship spans about a year, spending much of their time do-ing crafts. That’s where the “Joy Bags” idea got started.

“We made our hand-painted gift bags for the neighbors,” Nolan said. “It’s something that Khloe and I hoped would brighten up someone’s day, especially if they really needed that during the holidays.” The gift bags included hot cocoa, candy treats, Christmas pencils, handcrafted bracelets, Rice Krispies treats, along

Joy Bags

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