Teen makes blankets for police to distribute to traumatized children

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—A local teenager is using her creativity to help children who find themselves in traumatic situations.

When 17-year-old Claire Helmen was in 6th grade, she was inspired to help families experiencing trauma, especially the children involved. After speaking with her mother, Helmen came up with the idea to make fleece blankets for affected children.

“I’ve always known the importance of helping others in need and the thought of children being scared and traumatized is simply heartbreaking,” said Helmen. “I designed this program in hopes of providing some type of comfort and condolence to them.”

Helmen, a senior at Bishop Chatard High School, launched “Claire’s Comfort for Kids,” a project that has distributed approximately 3,600 blankets to first responders across Indiana to be given to child victims.

With the assistance of Junior Achievement Biz campers and StarPoint campers at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Helmen created and donated 600 blankets to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department on Tuesday.

“We are so glad to have these blankets,” said Lisa Brown, victim assistance manager, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. “The blankets are something tangible that we can give a child. The child loves it when we explain that it is their blanket and they get to keep it. It shows that someone cares that they are hurting.”

After launching the project in 2010, Helmen was recognized by the children’s museum as a Power of Children Award honoree. As a result, she received a $2,000 grant from Kroger to continue her work.

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