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Spanish Daily Journal
     March 10, 2020      #56-70 sdj

Bradley tenn uses Compassion Project to help

Bradley tenn usa Compassion Project para ayudar

By Stephanie Makham

BRADLEY — The concept behind Treyson Schoon’s Compassion Project is two-fold: provide comfort to children in unfamiliar or scary situations and prove police are there to help.

It started with dropping 10 bags off at the Kankakee Police Department where Treyson’s mom works as a patrol officer. Treyson asked officers to keep the bags in their patrol cars to give to children as they saw fit.

He filled the bags with “things that a kid would like,” such as small toys, stuffed animals, crayons, coloring books, cards and candy.

“The purpose of these bags was to give them to police officers [for] kids who have faced tragedies or have been in accidents,” Treyson said. “If they are on a scene, and the kids don’t know what to do because they’re young and they don’t really understand, they could give one of these bags to them to make them not bored.”

The compassion didn’t end there, even after Treyson completed his assignment. The 13-year-old eighth-grader at Bradley Central wants to see how far he can take his school project.

Jenn Schoon, Treyson’s mom and a 20-year KPD officer, saw how invested her son was in taking up the cause.

“Had he not said anything to me after we left the Kankakee Police Department that day, that he thinks every police car should have a bag in it, it never would have gone any further than what it was, just the 10 bags to one department,” Jenn Schoon said. “But when he said that, I was like, ‘If that’s what you want to do, let’s go for it.’”

With help from his family and community members’ donations, Treyson has delivered 40 bags to the Kankakee, Bradley and Bourbonnais police departments and the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office.

“I just thought that it shouldn’t be just Kankakee that had these bags,” Treyson said. “I figured that if I’m doing it for Kankakee, I might as well do it for Bourbonnais and Bradley; I loved doing it, so that’s why I’m continuing to do it.”

Treyson said he wants to continue his project with other police departments in Kankakee County, then bring it to the Pontiac Police Department in Livingston County where his brother lives and to the Illinois State Police.

“Honestly, [my goal is to] maybe one day make this worldwide where we could ship out to other countries or maybe other places in the United States, just to make this as big as possible,” Treyson said.

While Treyson knew he could count on his family to help him expand his project’s reach, he never predicted the outpouring of support from the community.

Treyson’s older brother Trevor set up a GoFundMe page that has since raised nearly $1,500. Trevor also helped him get in touch with local news outlets, and word of the project continued to spread.

Jenn Schoon set up a Facebook fundraiser to seek further donations; it has since raised over $2,000. Others have given the family cash donations or sent Treyson items through his Amazon wishlist.

Taco John’s in Bradley has agreed to donate 50 percent of its proceeds from customers who mention the Compassion Project from 4 to 7 p.m. March 18.

Bradley Central teacher Kevin Schouten assigned the Compassion Project during his 12-week course on LASST (Language Arts, Social Science and Technology) subjects.

He said he asked students to spend part of their class time working to help a group of people or solve a problem of their choice.

“In school, students don’t always have the opportunity to direct their own learning,” Schouten said. “I could assign them a problem, but I want them to pick something they care about.”

Students selected projects like collecting food for the homeless, making toys for animal shelters and starting an anti-bullying campaign, he said.

“I was not surprised to see [Treyson] come up with a project like this to help as many people as possible,” Schouten said. “It fits with his character.”

Treyson said he was thinking of a way he could help police when he thought of the idea to make the bags for children. He said he hopes his project helps highlight the good police do and improve trust between police and young people.

“I figured giving these to the police officers to give to the kids would be a way in helping them out and helping kids not to be scared or frightened when police are around,” he said.

Bradley Central Principal Mark Kohl said all students did well with the Compassion Project, but Treyson went the extra mile.

“He’s the only one who’s taken his project and really ran with it,” Kohl said. “Treyson is very passionate about everything in life.”

Kohl said he was excited to see all the attention surrounding Treyson’s project, and he hopes the project continues to expand.

“[Treyson] is a very driven young man,” Kohl said. “We are very proud of him.”

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