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Wrapped in love

by DEVIN WEEKS
Staff Writer | December 11, 2020 1:00 AM

COEUR d’ALENE — Just imagining the little ones North Idaho CASA serves and the comfort new blankets will bring them choked up Rachel Gourley as she spoke.

“I was thinking, my little brother, he’s like yay tall," she said, holding her hand about a child's height from the ground. "He wrapped one around himself and I got teary-eyed thinking about it."

A dozen soft, hand-tied fleece blankets, rainbow plaid on one side and orange on the other, were gifts to North Idaho CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) from Rachel and her CHS Junior Class Student Council representative peers to wrap local kids in crisis in warmth and comfort this Christmas season. The juniors made and donated the blankets as part of a class community service project.

The students visited CASA's office on Fourth Street on Thursday and presented the blankets to development director Kristin Ludwig.

"With COVID and stuff, since a lot of families are short on cash this year, and a lot of people have lost their jobs, when we were told we needed a community project, we were like, 'let’s do something that goes toward Christmas' so that maybe some families can have presents they might not be able to afford," student Amy Corette said. "We just thought it was good timing."

“We’re just trying to bring as much happiness as possible to the people who need it, especially in this time," junior Myah Rietze said.

North Idaho CASA supports trained advocates who serve abused and neglected children up to age 18 in the five northern counties. Currently, CASA has 135 active advocates who are working with 391 child victims in 249 child protective cases.

“The high school level kids care enough about the kids that are less fortunate and in these horrible situations, and some of them are their peers," Ludwig said. "Some of them are high school students that are left to fend for themselves and they’re on their own. It’s super sad."

Advocate Joe Krutulis was picking up a few items from the office and grabbed a blanket for a 2-year-old he's working with. He was happy to see high-schoolers practicing such kindness for others.

“For these students to understand what’s going on in their community is vital," he said. "For them to take this on is phenomenal."

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DEVIN WEEKS/Press

North Idaho CASA development director Kristin Ludwig, left, is presented on Thursday with a gift of 12 hand-tied blankets made by Coeur d'Alene High juniors. Also pictured, from right: Ellie Morrisroe, Myah Rietze, Amy Corette and Rachel Gourley.

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Coeur d'Alene High Junior Class reps. (from left) Rachel Gourley, Amy Corette, Myah Rietze and Ellie Morrisroe delivered 12 hand-tied blankets to North Idaho CASA on Thursday as part of a class community service project. The blankets will provide comfort and warmth for local kids going through neglect and abuse.