Bozeman Summit School students made 40 superhero capes and donated them to national and local charities this week, including children at the local domestic violence shelter.

Children who attend the 34-student school, who ranged from preschoolers to fifth graders, attended a presentation on respect given by HAVEN development coordinator Erica Coyle. After the event, the students presented 10 capes to Coyle for children staying at HAVEN. The other 30 capes are going to Craft Hope for national distribution.

“The capes represent hope,” said Michael Schuler, head of Bozeman Summit School, a private Montessori school at 3001 W. Villard St.

The capes were made of different color fabrics with a unique ribbon lining the bottom. Students at Bozeman Summit School devoted an afternoon to making the capes. The design was simple, so the children who received them could personalize them into a “princess” cape or a “superhero” cape, Coyle said.

“So many times when children move into HAVEN they only bring one suitcase so they have to leave a lot of their things at home,” Coyle said. “Being able to have something of their own that makes them feel like a superhero is something really great that we're so happy we can offer them.”

Four children are currently staying at HAVEN. A children's group also meets on Monday nights at the shelter. Children who would like a cape will get one.

Whitney Shafer, an upper elementary teacher at the school, came up with the cape idea after seeing an article in a magazine. Shafer thought the idea would work well with the school's theme of the month: service and compassion for others.

“Whitney is an outstanding teacher. She is continually looking for projects for the kids, so it was easy to support her,” said Schuler.

Shafer said the process to make the capes involved holding a school meeting to explain the project to the kids and finding a way to make the project easy. After making the capes, the students wore them while doing their schoolwork before giving them away. The school paid for all of the supplies and viewed it as a way to invest in the kids.

“They learned what it's like to pass something on that you really loved,” Shafer said.

At the presentation Monday morning, Coyle spoke about how to be a good friend. She asked students to build a tower of blocks as they talked. The added a block for each thing that a student had said or done that made someone feel good. A block was removed for any actions or words that had hurt someone. Coyle also read the anti-bullying book, “One,” by Kathryn Otoshi.

“At HAVEN we focus on crisis intervention. But it's also important to do that prevention piece as well,” Coyle said. “We want to engage the community in having healthy and respectful relationships. It was really great to go in and talk to the kids at that young age, and we are grateful to Bozeman Summit School for giving us that opportunity.”

Kaitlyn Nicholas can be reached at or 582-2680.


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