WINSLOW - When Caitlin Black, art teacher at Winslow Township School No. 1, heard that the last day of January was national Inspire Your Heart with Art Day, she knew she wanted to inspire her own students to make a difference in the lives of others. That’s why in the weeks leading up to the holiday, all 360 students in the school that serves preschool through third-grade were busy creating and decorating cards and envelopes for sick children.
“I sent the idea to every teacher in the school, and then some of them even led their own classes to make cards,” said Black, who partnered with the organization Cards for Hospitalized Kids. “With my students, we talked about CFHK and how there are kids my students’ age who are in the hospital. We talked about using the cards and art to be positive. Art can make people feel better.”
Black said after hearing about the holiday, she remembered one of her third-grade students had previously requested to use art to help those who had cancer, and that’s when she did some research and found CFHK, which helps many types of children. She hopes to send hundreds of cards to CFHK this week, with some students making multiple cards.
“Joseph gave me the idea of doing something to help people who have cancer, and then we made it bigger by helping lots of sick kids, and now it’s just all connected,” said Black.
“We’re making cards for people that are feeling sad and sick kids,” explained 9-year-old Joseph Hatefi, a student in Matthew Bowen’s class. “I really like doing art and I thought it would be nice to help people with cancer. This project is fun! I don’t know anyone who has cancer, but I just want to do good. When I grow up, I want to do something really nice, like be an inventor and help people who have cancer.”
Hatefi said his favorite part was leading younger students in making cards.
“I’m getting to teach the little kids and tell them how to do it,” he said. “I’m telling them to write positive things. I made three cards myself, and I have a brother in first grade here and I’m going to tell him to make one too.”
CFHK is an internationally recognized charitable organization that spreads hope, joy, and magic to hospitalized kids across America through uplifting, handmade cards. More than 80,000 kids in hospitals in all 50 states have received cards from the organization, according to the CFHK website, www.cardsforhospitalizedkids.com.
The school’s Service Learning Club also is making and decorating cards this marking period for the Jared Box Project, another program designed to spread cheer to sick children, this time at Virtua Hospital. The Winslow students are putting coloring books, toys, and other items in the boxes for children.