By CAITLIN MCKEAND, HADLEY HUDSON
Flurries of writing, a sea of pink and red, and a picture of two smiling children on the overhead projector at the front of the classroom show the spirit of Valentine’s Day.
During PIT earlier this month, Nation Honor Society members wrote letters to two children who have rare conditions/diseases. The goal was 1,000 letters for each child with the help of the Cheyanna’s Champions for Children, a national organization that supports the community of families and children with rare or undiagnosed conditions. CC4C matches each sponsored child with a “Champion Teammate” and a high school team.
“I think that just showing that you’ve got older children here thinking about these two young kids who are in a really tough situation in life just brings a lot of thoughtfulness to the community about recognizing that there are other things going on outside of the world outside of their small spheres of their communities and their own lives,” NHS advisor Rebecca Bumpas said. “It’s good to be thinking about people beyond their own regular life.”
Quinn Apel, senior NHS historian, coordinated the project benefitting the two kids, Maddie (7) and Tristan (11) who had their picture projected on the overhead while members created cards.
“It makes it really special for the kids, especially since it’s close to Valentine’s,” Apel said. “We had a great time making the cards and I’m really excited to see how the kids react.”
Maddie, who has a de novo mutation causing chronic pain and weak bones; and Tristan, who has battled Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis and Lyme Disease, will be receiving their notes in delivery boxes. Both children live in Austin.
“It’s really sweet that they’re getting all of these words of encouragement,” junior LeeAnn Morris said. “I think it’s really cool to get high schoolers to be able to help kids that are struggling and make us appreciate all of the things we have here, and help those who are less fortunate”
From light bulbs that say “You light up my life” to words of encouragement and cute little pictures, junior Sydney Kuykendoll agrees that it’s nice to do something that will help somebody.
“I didn’t even know what we were making Valentines for, but I hope to brighten their days a little more, it’s nice to think about them as opposed to our lives in school,” Kuykendoll said.
Bumpas stated she would love to expand the idea to other children.
“If they are looking for things beyond Valentines, which I am sure that they are because kids in these situations need a lot of positivity and hope throughout the year not just the holidays,” Bumpas said. “I would love for us to do another event to give them some sort of encouragement, support and positivity.”