Danielle Staats is gathering children's books to donate to foster children.
Danielle Staats, Pratt High School student, spent part of her spring break picking up children's books for her new project. She is collecting books for foster children, something near and dear to her heart as part of her Miss Kansas Outstanding Teen platform.
"My life has always been entwined with foster children," Staats said. "I have an adopted brother, my family hosts foster kids, and my older sister is a social worker working as an adoption specialist. I just want to make sure these kids have the same access to books that the rest of us take for granted."
Staats, 16, participated in the Miss Kansas Outstanding Teen contest last year and is already gearing up for 2018 competition activities. Getting a chance to focus on something that has been important in her family for her lifetime makes it easy for her to give up a little spring break time to think about others.
"I would say simple resources like children's books often get left behind for foster kids," she said. "Those are things they just can't take with them if they have to move around."
Staats sister, Dominique (Staats) Psizenmaier, has been a important piece of the puzzle as she has been able to connect Staats with people and places who can get the books in the hands of foster children.
"She was able to give them to her work coordinators at St. Francis in Wichita so these books will go into waiting rooms where foster children are, and even then to the homes where they are placed," she said.
Staats is also looking for other foster organizations who would accept book donations for children in the state system.
Those who would like to contribute children's books appropriate for age-levels birth to teen, may put them in boxes at Pratt High School and Southwest Elementary school offices. They may also contact Staats by instant messenger on her Facebook page, Danielle Elizabeth.
"I just want to raise awareness and gather as many books as I can for these kids," she said.