WAUKEE, Iowa – A seventh grade student in Waukee has a big heart with a big idea to help other children in need. She hopes it inspires others to make a difference in the community.

Izabella Arndt is a natural leading an interest group at South Middle School in Waukee. The group is making posters for her big project. She said, “When I turned ten, I wanted to help out my community because I have a whole room of toys in my house, and I don`t need any more toys in my house."

Instead of presents for her birthday, Izabella collected items to fill backpacks for foster kids. She collected enough to fill 39 that year. Now, she is asking classmates to bring hair brushes, tooth brushes, hand sanitizer and more. “We have these adorable stuffed animals because my friend said that when she was ripped out, she didn`t get to take her favorite stuffed animals," she said.

Izabella can imagine what that would be like. She was an orphan until Lisa and Dan Arndt adopted her when she was three. Lisa said, “We spent 21 days in China with her, and then we brought her home.”

Dan Arndt said, “I’m very proud of all this. Everything she`s accomplished. Her goals that she has in life."

The backpacks will go to Four Oaks Foster/Adoptive Family Connections Program. Bambi Schrader said, “In the state there`s about 4,000 children in the foster care system, but in Polk County alone last year there were 450 children placed in foster care. Unfortunately, we only had 275 foster homes.”

She said there is a big need to help in a variety of ways. “There`s a need all the way around. Everything from backpacks to coming in to the need for more foster and adoptive parents that will take children zero to 18,” she said.

The Arndts know they can't adopt all those needing a home, but Izabella can help one backpack at a time. “I hope this inspires others to help out their community," she said.

The students are bringing the items this week. The classroom pods will compete to see who can collect the most. You can drop off items at South Middle School.

Big Teddy Bear

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