COSTA MESA — Using colored pencils, markers and crayons, 33 students in LaWanda Allen's fifth-grade class found their own ways Wednesday to say "welcome to the world" to a newborn.
The students sat at their desks under a colorful sea of paper fish hanging from the ceiling, personalizing cards to go with gift baskets that each was assembling for a baby.
The students attend St. Joachim Catholic School, a nursery and K-8 private school on Orange Avenue.
As part of the class' yearly service project, the students filled the baskets with essential items — baby powder, body wash, a onesie and beanie, a bottle, and diapers — destined for the Life Center in Santa Ana, a pro-life pregnancy service agency.
The school teaches the students to support the dignity of every human life, Allen said, adding that the service project reinforced that value by supporting both mothers and their unborn babies.
The project introduced the children to the reality that people are struggling, said room mom Maura Flanagan, whose daughter Dottie is in the class.
"I think it's great because it's really sad if people don't get to keep their babies because they don't have enough money," said Julia Gregory, 11, of Costa Mesa.
Cole McFetters, 11, of Newport Beach, said he hopes the moms-to-be will be able to stop worrying about being able to provide for their babies after receiving a basket.
The Newport Beach resident filled his basket with pink baby items in honor of his 13- and 15-year-old sisters, Cole said.
"I did a girl's basket because my sisters are girls. And I really enjoy girls because they're really fun and easy," he said.
"Welcome to the world. We are happy and proud to help your new baby! We want you to have fun with your baby and take care of him or her."
—Sam Blackmore, 11