By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Salvation Army students honor the heroes in their lives through book
salvation army kids
Students from Samantha Bradshaw’s after-school program at the Salvation Army Turlock Corps. pose with their recently published book, “Our Heroes,” during a special ceremony on Friday afternoon. - photo by Christopher Correa

It’s not often that elementary school students get their work published. Thanks to the Salvation Turlock Corp. in collaboration with StudenTreasures Publishing, 16 local students were afforded that opportunity.


On Friday, the 16 students, who are enrolled in Samantha Bradshaw’s after-school class at the Salvation Army’s Turlock Community Center, walked the red carpet and took the stage to celebrate the release of their picture book, “Our Heroes,” and to take home hardcover copies.


Within the book, the class was tasked with writing a short story about somebody they consider a hero in their lives. Each story is also accompanied by one of their drawings.


“The students were able to express themselves while getting to work on their writing, which is a great opportunity,” said Captain Jeffrey Breazeale.


One of the things that made Breazeale especially proud was that each of the heroes chosen by the 16 students were real people in their lives, not cartoons or fictional characters.


“Many times, you ask a kid who their hero is, they’ll say something like Spiderman or Superman,” he said. “But no, they all chose their parents, a grandparent, a teacher. So that’s really cool to see that they all have someone they look up to at home or at school.”


Bradshaw was the one who first discovered StudenTreasures, which is based out of Kansas and has existed for over 25 years. The goal of the program is to provide teachers and schools with free, hands-on writing activities that motivates students to write and express themselves through literature and illustration.


“To be honest, I was just browsing on my computer, and something popped up that said ‘Let your students be published authors.’ And I thought, ‘No, this is a scam,’' Bradshaw joked. “And so, after that, I clicked on it because I just wanted to check. I started looking into it and thought it would be great for the after-school program. In our next meeting, I brought it up and asked if it was something that we could do. Everybody was on board.


“It's actually more geared towards schools instead of an after-school program, so I reached out just via email to one of the support techs and I told him my position and that I ran an after-school program and stuff. He was such a help in getting me my own log-in because we aren’t a school. And I’m so proud of the kids for completing it. They did such an amazing job.”


The class began the project in November and sent over their stories and drawings on March 15. The hardcover copies were finally delivered last week.


“I kept imagining how they would come out, and now they’re here. It’s amazing,” Bradshaw said.


The cover features cartoon images of each student who participated in the program — Jodh Binder, Saaya Bhinder, Charly Blanton, Domanique Blanton, Olivia Breazeale, Jefre Chavez, Derin Houston, Valencia Lee, Axle Martinez, Eliyanah Martinez, Dulce Orona, Gurkirat Singh, Gurman Singh, Jasnoor Singh, Elijah Smith and Kalani White.


The book is not available for public purchase, though each student received a copy for them and their families. The families also received a special website code to order more copies for themselves if they wanted.


Captain Katie Breazeale loved the program so much she has worked alongside Bradshaw to start the process of making the project an annual thing.


“​​We already signed up for next year to do a book,” she said. “We choose what topic, they send us the material, we fill it all out, we send it back, they send us it back published. It's amazing. I'd love to do it more than once a year.”

For more information on the program, visit