"Kindred Kids" meet face to face in initiative started after Emanuel shooting

VIDEO: "Kindred Kids" meet face to face in initiative started after Emanuel shooting
Published: Dec. 9, 2015 at 10:38 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 9, 2015 at 11:36 PM EST
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Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Elementary school kids got to participate in a new program sparked by the shooting at Mother Emanuel AME.

It's called Kindred Kids, an initiative put together by WINGS for kids.

It all started two months ago when fourth graders from North Charleston Elementary and Mason Preparatory Schools began talking to each other, all
behind a pencil.

Wednesday night was the first time they got to meet face to face.

"The kids at first were a little apprehensive because they didn't know who was at the other end of the pen, but I think as the letter have poured in they've opened up," said CEO of WINGS for kids Bridget Laird.

Since October the students have been pen pals, getting to know everything about each other.

"We asked questions about what we do for Thanksgiving," said a WINGS for kids kids Kiarstaine Fields. "Also what kind of sports we're interested in."

"He likes Lamborghini's and Bugatti's, and I like Lamborghini's," said Fields' pen pal Bryson Eaton.

This is all happening though because of what happened at Mother Emanuel AME.

Laird feels a lack of social awareness is what lead to that tragedy.

"We felt sort of called to action, to act upon that and do something within the community that we could create quickly," Laird said. "Something that could revitalize hope. We believe we could start that with kids."

"It's hard to need something like that to trigger improvements," said Renata Leite, a parent of one of the kids.

"We chose a school that had different demographic then the kids that we typically work with," Laird added. "We want the kids to interact with children that they wouldn't interact with on a daily basis."

Laird hopes this initiative can be a role model for others in the community to show that change is happening in a positive way despite the tragic event.

"It an opportunity for them to create friendships with different kids," she said. "So as they grow they'll value differences within different individuals."

The kids will continue to send handwritten letters to each other over the next few months.

They'll meet again in March for another face to face celebration.

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