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By Rama K. Ramaswamy
Hardy School PTO members Carrie Chu, Karen McAdams and Lauren Lin hosted a very successful, “Book Building for Children’s Hospital” community service project last week.
McAdams, who has chaired community service in past years, said that last week’s event drew the largest number of participants she has seen in the last six years.
“I’m not sure who first had the idea for this particular event,” she said. “Each year the Community Service Committee brainstorms ideas for the year and this was one of them. We usually try to do different things each year but this event is one of two annual events that have been done for many years. The other annual project is the Hardy Green Day when the students clean and spruce up the school grounds in the spring.”
According to Lin, “We have a great team. Karen is our senior committee member. She’s done it all before and guides us along. We have a fairly large committee: Karen, Carrie and I along with Linda Krug and Lana Faye decide what projects we do and then assign each person jobs so it’s fairly easy.”
The books that were made were 10 pages, filled with activities such as puzzles, mazes for third-sixth graders and some coloring for kindergarten-second graders.
Lin said, “The kids decorate the cover and back and assemble the books by punching holes and tying string to bind it. The covers ranged from elaborate pictures to stickers and dot art. They were all beautiful and happy.”
The age range of volunteering children was equally distributed between K-5. Hardy fifth graders enjoy their tradition of meeting at Fells Market for lunch and conversation but last week many of them returned to their school by 1:30 p.m. to provide their expertise in the area of book building.
According to McAdams, “I love seeing how much the kids care about it. I also love how it really speaks to all ages from K to 5. They all get why this is important, and know how much Children’s Hospital really appreciates getting these books. I think Lauren shared the story of my friend Martha Coats being at the hospital recently and seeing kids who are patients there, using our Hardy-made books. I’ve heard the same from other people over the years as well.”
Lauren and Carrie agreed and said that, “the Community Service Committee is an important way for our students to learn how to give back and be active citizens in their community. It empowers to them to be able to make a difference. I think this project really resonates with them. The children I spoke to were happy to be sharing joy or as they say in kindergarten, ‘filling other people’s buckets.’ This project also allowed for younger siblings to participate in a meaningful way too.”
The results of such K-5 collaboration and dedicated PTO-parent supervision are about 120 colorful, creative books ready to be enjoyed by children like Rylie who is recovering after a leukemia diagnosis or Jax, who is recovering from a rare heart condition, both at Children’s Hospital.
As McAdams said, “not at all bad for a little after school work!”
For more information on how to volunteer at Children’s Hospital, visit www.childrensnational.org/giving/get-involved.
Rama K. Ramaswamy writes for Hometown Weekly.