BREVARD COUNTY — Students at Sea Park Elementary School got a lesson in empathy as they poured their hearts out in two quilts. They spent multiple class periods working on the quilts for children with cancer as part of a “Quilts for Kids” project.
Art teacher Charlotte Hertz brought the idea of creating a quilt for ailing children to her sixth-grade students last fall. The quilts will be donated to an Orlando children’s hospital at the end of the school year.
“(The students) really liked the idea,” Mrs. Hertz said. “They were very excited about it and didn’t have any problems with the donation.
“I explained to them clearly that they won’t get this back,” she added. “When I brought them in, I said, ‘Now imagine you’ve been sitting in a hospital room for weeks and you’re very, very sick and somebody walks in and says you get to take this home. How would that make you feel?’ They really learned a lot of empathy and caring.”
The whole sixth-grade class -- totaling up to 46 students -- each worked on a 6-inch square with a sun theme using fabric markers. The class voted on its favorite uplifting quote to add to each quilt.
Students ended up choosing, “With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts,” by Eleanor Roosevelt and a quote by Oscar Wilde, “When it rains, look for rainbows. When it’s dark, look for stars.”
Mrs. Hertz said that with the sun theme, she taught the students art history on why the sun has been important to humans throughout time.
Two volunteers from the local quilting guild, Seaside Piecemakers, took the student’s squares home and made two quilts out of them.
A donation from the Satellite Beach Lions Club enabled the class to buy the materials.
Fifth-grade students were eager to start working on the quilting project as well, Mrs. Hertz said, and will most likely continue the quilt project next year as sixth-graders.
“Art can make children feel so good,” Mrs. Hertz said. “Like the kids said, it’s bright, it’s sunny and colorful. I think sharing art is as important as making it and I think to share it with somebody that really needs it.”
For more information, visit www.quiltsforkids.org.