Scott County students learn they can make a difference

Riley Banks
Riley Banks

NEW HAMBURG, MO (KFVS) - What do you do with extra school supplies left over at the end of the year? One teenager said she'll take them to Africa.

It's all part of a movement to let people know that anyone can help.

"You are definitely going to be able to make a difference in this world as long as you give your all and you're always trying," said Riley Banks.

That's the message the 16-year-old has for the students at Kelso C-7.

"I don't think it matters what age you are, you can definitely always make an impact," said Banks.

At 13, Banks traveled to Kenya to visit a relative, and helped teach at an orphanage.

"After I helped one kid, they passed the next pencil on to the next kid and so on and so forth, and I was thinking they're never going to finish learning English if this is what they have to do," said Banks.

"Do you guys have to take on pencil and pass it around the room?" Banks asks the Kelso C-7 students. "No."

Banks started her non-profit organization Generation Next. The organization gathers school supplies in America and gives them to African children. They also collect hygiene products to pass out to the girls.

"Riley just exhibits that perfectly that no matter the age, they can make an impact on their community and the global community as well," said Kelso C-7 Principal Kim Burger.

Burger said they want their students to see they can make a difference, big or small.

"I think sometimes we focus too much on that you have to donate so much money to really make a difference, and this is a good way for our students to learn something small as an extra pencil, and extra crayon, they can make a big difference," said Burger.

"It was very inspirational because it makes me want to help a lot of kids, it makes me feel that I can make a difference even though I'm just in 8th grade," said 8th grade Kelso C-7 student Anne Westrich.

Westrich said she was surprised to hear how different their conditions are, compared to the African students.

"I was surprised, I mean I knew that they had not as good of conditions as here, but I didn't think it was that bad as to where you know they didn't have electricity, or a stove, or pencils," said Westrich.

Scott County students have already started collecting supplies, but plan to continue to make a difference.

"All the school supplies that you donate at the end of the year, or throughout the year, is going to get to go here," Banks said to the Kelso kids.

"I think at the end of the school year we're going to get all the supplies we didn't use and give them to them," said Westrich.

You can donate supplies at the drop centers at Simply Swirled in Cape Girardeau near the mall, Kid's Stop in Cape Girardeau's Town Plaza, or in Sikeston at the Outlet Mall.

You can also contact Kelso C-7 or visit the organization's website at You can also find Generation Next on Facebook.

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