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Wythe County preschooler's care packages connect police and kids

Wythe County preschooler's care packages connect police and kids

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Only $5 for 5 months
Kymber and Stu Vaught

Four-and-a-half-year-old Kymberleigh has some friends at the Wythe County Sheriff’s Office.

She began befriending law enforcement there when she was very small and her grandmother says she doesn’t think she’ll ever forget them. She’s particularly fond of Cpl. Stu Vaught, who made visits to her Head Start class.

When Kymber realized that not all kids were quite as friendly with law enforcement as she is, the Max Meadows preschooler took it upon herself to try and change that.

“She started collecting right after Christmas, just little bits and pieces of things she’d collected and bought,” said Jeanette Jennelle, Kymber’s grandmother and guardian.

Kymber then bagged those items—fleece blankets, coloring books and crayons , stickers, Playdough and other fun things—into handy drawstring bags for police officers to give to children,  five for girls and five for boys.

“She thought if they had something fun to give the kids they would talk to them,” Jennelle explained.

Kymber got the idea, her grandmother said, from the stuffed animals police often give out to small children to help bring them comfort in times of crisis or trauma.

“She said she wanted to help kids who were in a bad situation,” Jennelle said. “She wants them to know that there’s always someone out there who cares for them.”

 Vaught said such items help bring comfort to children who meet police under less-than-ideal circumstances, such as domestic incidents, vehicle crashes and other traumatic experiences.

“That’s why there’s blankets in there, to hold on to something,” he said. “Some of those items might take their minds off of real world problems.”

 Such things can help bring a sense of security, that things will get better for them, he said.

“When they’re at that point in their life of having a traumatic event, whether it’s a car accident or the death of a relative, hopefully it helps ease the pain of going through those different types of crisis.”

Both Vaught and Jennelle described Kymber as a selfless little girl who’s always thinking of others.

Jennelle said her Head Start teachers have referred to her as a “mama hen” because she’s constantly looking out for her classmates.

Last December, Kymber also teamed up with a deputy during the Wythe County Sheriff’s Office’s Shop with a Cop event. After she finished her shopping, Kymber wanted to donate her new toys to Toys for Tots.

“She’s just always wanted to be able to help where she can,” Jennelle said affectionately of her granddaughter, who laid napping in another room on Thursday.

“It’s always great to see how Kymber thinks of others before she thinks of herself,” Vaught said.

When she donated the care packages earlier this week, Jennelle said Kymber specifically requested to give them to her buddy, Cpl. Vaught.

And she had to have a picture with him.

The sheriff’s office shared that photo showing Kymber’s kindness on its Facebook page.

“Kymber we commend you for your self-sacrifice and kindness of heart,” they wrote in the post.

“She was so excited to see it,” Jennelle said. “She’s like, ‘Oh, look! There’s my buddy!’”

Jennelle believes her granddaughter’s act of kindness goes to show that even the smallest of people can make a big impact.

“It’s good for people in the community to see that it doesn’t necessarily take an adult to make a change, that a child can make a change, as well,” she said. 

A giving soul doesn’t rest. Kymber’s already hard at work planning her next act of kindness, working out what she can place in care packages for her law enforcement friends at the Wythe County Sherriff’s Office.

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