Madi Davidson focused intensely on the sheet of paper in front of her, carefully considering what word to write next with her marker.
It wasn’t just any note the fourth year student from Wright Elementary School in Dublin was writing – the recipient was going to be a hospice patient and she wanted to make it even more special.
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“I hope it makes someone happy,” said 10-year-old Madi.
Two fourth-grade classes from Wright Elementary designed paper and cloth hearts and wrote notes that will be given to hospice patients through Seeds of Caring’s Show heART for Hospice Patients with OhioHealth.
“We truly believe in the power of kindness and the ability of children to change our world,” said Brandy Jemczura, founder and executive director of Seeds of Caring, a Columbus nonprofit group that involves children in projects. service and community development experiences.
“We believe engaging them in service from an early age is key to nurturing and developing the empathetic, courageous, and inclusive leaders we need in our community,” Jemczura said.
The fourth-grade classrooms of Wright Elementary teachers Alexandria Claes and Jennifer Allen looked more like an art studio on Wednesday afternoon as students crafted their art projects. The children selected and cut fabric into different patterns or strips, which they glued to the paper in the shape of a heart.
9-year-old Nour Abulaiha chose two different types of fabrics with flowers and flamingos for her heart art project.
“You feel special by helping others feel special and loved,” she said. “It’s really helpful to know more about the hospice.”
Linda Ibrahim, 9, cut out her fabric in the shape of a heart which she placed inside a larger heart.
“It will make people happy,” she said. “Maybe it will brighten their day.”
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For her note, Madi wrote, “Dear patient, I hope you are as happy as you can be! Fill your bucket with what you have always wanted to do! I hope you have a happy ending of life.” She also added “stay strong”, “love is the cure” with a hand-drawn pink heart and “a paper hug sent” with two people hugging on the back of her art project.
“I said that because maybe there’s something they really want to do that they haven’t been able to do and maybe they should try it,” Madi said. . “I feel like it would help them feel loved a lot.”
Hospice patients appreciate the art projects, said Melissa Showalter, OhioHealth’s coordinator for hospice volunteer resources.
“They don’t have a lot of their own stuff as they come to the end of their lives,” Showalter said. “They might have a blanket, maybe a pair of slippers. It’s nice to add a photo to their bedroom and brighten up the room.
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Before doing the art projects, the teachers had a discussion with their students explaining hospice and bereavement.
“Without doing a project like this, it’s really hard to have those discussions,” Allen said.
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Her grandmother died in hospice care in April 2020, so this project was personal, she said.
“It’s perfect because my grandmother would have loved it,” Allen said. “My hope is that (the hospice patients who receive the art) just know that they are loved by someone.”
Watching and helping her students create art projects warmed her heart.
“Our students have done this with the utmost care and they take it very seriously and they just hope to put a smile on someone’s face,” Allen said.
The project also teaches students about empathy, responsibility and ownership, Claes said.
“There are things that are going to be tough situations, but they also know there are things we can do to make things better,” she said.