Westerly fourth-graders partner with Bethesda-on-the-Bay to bring warmth to urban schoolchildren
There was a new twist to this year's Blanket Project, an annual service project by the fourth-grade class of Barbara Woodburn and Mary Jo Mahall at Westerly Elementary School in Bay Village.
In order to make enough of the warm, fuzzy and comforting blankets for Cleveland's Urban Community School students, the teachers enlisted the help of the Bethesda-on-the-Bay Lutheran Church congregation.
"It seemed like a lofty idea to make this an inter-generational event," said Woodburn. "We've done this in the past at a different school with far fewer blankets for just one grade level of students." She explained that the class wanted to provide a blanket for every student in the after-school program at Urban Community, but the teachers knew they couldn't do it alone.
"We purchased 100 yards of fleece fabric and wondered how many church volunteers would show up to make 26 blankets during just one Sunday School hour," she said. "True to our congregation's reputation, more than 75 volunteers got to work and finished them all!"
The fourth-graders combined the 15 blankets they created at Westerly with the 26 blankets made by the adults and took them all on a bus to Urban Community School on Dec. 1. After presenting three skits to the student audience, they distributed the blankets. As the children receiving the blankets wrapped themselves in the physical warmth provided, everyone basked in the warmth of giving and generosity.
"We all witnessed the true joy of giving during this special event," said Woodburn, "and we recognize that it would not have been possible without the generosity of the people of Bethesda."
Director of Communications for the Bay Village City School District