Last year, Sarah Johnson “Miss J”, a teacher from Crooked Lake Elementary in Andover, saw a Facebook post that made her want to do something. She read that a family had received a donation of fleece blankets while in the hospital and shared that it made all the difference. As a teacher, she thought it was a perfect opportunity to incorporate empathy into her lesson plans so, she and her students decided to make fleece blankets themselves to donate to kids in the hospital.
While she knew she wanted to do it again this year, this time they had a personal connection. One of their 1st graders was diagnosed with cancer and her best friend, Ava, wanted to do something to help. So, together with the other 1st and 2nd grade teachers, they rallied more than 160 students and 30 volunteers including their parents & grandparents, the community, and the staff to set aside half of one school day to make 100 fleece blankets for Ava’s friend and any other child that might need one.
Having so many volunteers was critical as “teaching kids to tie a knot on purpose” was a lot harder than you might imagine!
“Parents appreciate us teaching their kids empathy,” said Miss J. And it’s a way to help their students talk about an adult topic in a way that works for them. “Everybody knows somebody who’s been in the hospital.” Being able to help in some way was really powerful for the kids.
And now, dropping off the blankets made Ava “really happy” as she couldn’t wait to give her the one she made especially for her friend.
Thank you Crooked Lake Elementary students, staff, parents and community members for truly making a difference in the lives of these children and their families!