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Clay youngster collects blankets for the Rescue Mission

DJ Villnave, of Clay, is collecting blankets for the Rescue Mission. This is the second year the 8-year-old has conducted the blanket drive. Here, he stands beside the drop box at KWS Bear Road Elementary, where he is a third-grader.

DJ Villnave, of Clay, is collecting blankets for the Rescue Mission. This is the second year the 8-year-old has conducted the blanket drive. Here, he stands beside the drop box at KWS Bear Road Elementary, where he is a third-grader. Photo by Sarah Hall.

— In addition to the impact he’s having on the recipients of his gifts, DJ also has an impact on his two younger sisters, Grace and Brenna. The two have asked their parents about pursuing similar community service projects after watching their big brother in action.

“I like my brother collecting blankets because it’s really exciting to collect the blankets,” Grace said.

Seeing their son act as a role model for his sisters, as well as other young children in the community, makes Damon and Sara Villnave proud.

“I think it’s fantastic,” Damon said. “I think he’s really stepped up as a young member of the community.”

“I’m so proud of him,” Sara said. ‘When he started this at 7, for him to really think beyond himself is pretty amazing. I’m glad to say he’s mine.”

Drop-off boxes for blankets are located in the main office at KWS Bear Road Elementary, 5590 Bear Road, North Syracuse, and at the district office, 5535 West Taft Road, North Syracuse. Collections will be accepted until Feb. 3.

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