Windy Ridge middle-schoolers make baby blankets for hospital

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  • | 12:10 p.m. December 4, 2014
Windy Ridge middle-schoolers make baby blankets for hospital
Windy Ridge middle-schoolers make baby blankets for hospital
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The middle-school members of the Junior Beta Club at Windy Ridge School K-8 collaborated on a project that involved the creation and the donation of 37 blankets to Arnold Palmer Hospital of Orlando.

The blankets will be used by children and babies at the hospital, said Pamela Crabb, an assistant principal at Windy Ridge School K-8.

“The blankets were a fleece material, and they had a variety of cheery and fun patterns,” Crabb said. “Some of the blankets will go to children who need to be seen in the ER, and some to children and babies who are staying in the hospital for a longer period of time.”

Some members of the club wanted to be there when the donation of the blankets occurred.

“Five Beta Club members, as well as Mrs. Susan Keller and Ms. Kerri Van Sickle, delivered the blankets to Arnold Palmer Hospital on Nov. 5,” Crabb said.

Van Sickle, the counselor and Junior Beta Club sponsor at Windy Ridge School K-8, was instrumental in the genesis of the project, setting up the project and ensuring proper execution to make the program a tremendous success, Crabb said.

Van Sickle, on the other hand, gave credit to Keller.

“Susan Keller, a paraprofessional at our school, has been buying material for the blankets little-by-little for the past couple of years,” Van Sickle said. “The blankets are fleece and are so soft. They also are bright and have very cheery patterns and all are unique and different. There is not one repeat pattern.”

Keller had delivered all of the materials to the school in September, at which point 18 of Windy Ridge School K-8’s Junior Beta Club students began working on the blankets, Van Sickle said.

“Susan taught them how to cut the blankets and then how to make fringes on all the ends,” Van Sickle said. “Prior to teaching the kids, Susan contacted the volunteer coordinator at Arnold Palmer Hospital to find out what size they needed.”

There were some specifications that officials at the hospital gave Keller, primarily that the blankets would be given to babies who were born prematurely, as well as to children who were going to the emergency room, Van Sickle said. Keller also needed to inquire as to which material would be needed, and she received the answer of fleece, she said.

The students spent a lot of free time making the blankets, including some portions of their lunch time and hours before school started, Van Sickle said.

“On Nov. 5, five Beta Club members and their parents, as well as Susan and myself, delivered the blankets to Arnold Palmer (Hospital),” Van Sickle said. “We donated half to the emergency room and half to one of the floors where babies and kids are staying in the hospital for an extended period of time.” 

The group was able to take a tour and learn about what the hospital does for patients and their families, as well as volunteer opportunities available to ages 15 and older.

“The Beta Club students loved the idea of volunteering to play games and complete arts and crafts projects with the child patients,” Van Sickle said. “One mom asked, ‘Who do we call once she is 15?’ I'm sure this student will volunteer there once she is 15. The kids felt great about this project, and it was wonderful to see them engaged in a hands-on project. I felt very proud of them, and I know they did, as well. The blankets will be a great source of comfort to little patients at a time of need.”

Members who helped to collaborate on this fleece blanket project included Desrae Morris, Meilah Wimbush, Kayla Sanders, Alysia Cancel, Lisette Acevedo, Anna Ocacio, Rosely Cancel, Isabella Domingues, Tayra Almonte, Lily Rutledge, Connor Osborne, Aashi Mendpara and Taniyah Sullivan.

Contact Zak Kerr at [email protected].


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