By TIM CLEVELAND
In the continuation of a project started last year, fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students from Girard Intermediate School made blankets for the residents of Shepherd of the Valley Boardman Campus, delivering them May 20 and 22.
“It came from last year,” said SOV Boardman activity director Kim Osborn. “Girard called the Niles facility to do this, so they did it last year in Niles. This year we just decided to branch it out to another facility. They decided to come here this year.
“They give them to the residents. They were actually here on Tuesday that played bingo and this is another group that’s coming.”
In addition to passing out the blankets, there was also a bingo game that the students helped the residents with.
“They just wanted something else to do with the residents besides just come and give them a blanket, so we decided to throw a bingo game in there with them,” Osborn said.
Girard Intermediate School counselor Pam Baker said approximately 100 girls participated in the project, called the Tie Blanket Project.
“We started it so the girls could kind of work to pay it forward to the community,” she said. “Kind of empower them to work together as a team. They gave up their recess time and they volunteered throughout the year during recess to make these blankets.
“We donated to Hurricane Sandy victims this year, the rescue mission, Relay for Life and then the nursing homes. We made a lot.”
Sixth-grader Alexis Funaro said she enjoyed helping make the blankets.
“It was really fun,” she said. “It’s really nice that we get to give them to the elders. Now I know how to make them so I can help my grandma. She likes to make them for our family.”
Baker described the process that the students went through to make the blankets.
“The school purchased the materials, then we do some fundraisers to get the material,” she said. “Then the girls come in and I teach them how to put them together and cut them. That’s how we make them.”
Theresa Copploe was one of SOV Boardman’s residents who received a blanket. She was very appreciative for the gift.
“It was very nice of them to come and give us blankets,” she said. “I thank them very much.”
Baker said the girls learned many lessons about working together from doing the project.
“It started because it was to try and have them work together and reduce the amount of cliques and have all different kinds of groups come together,” she said. “A lot of times they were getting into things over little tiffs. I wanted to show them that there was other people out there that would really benefit from them putting their energy toward seeing other people in the community that would benefit from receiving a blanket.
“This is working with their self-esteem and kind of reducing relational aggression in girls, getting along and not talking about each other and kind of working together to empower them to pay it forward to our community.”