By RODNEY D. BOAM
Andrea Smart took her fourth grade class to visit FCMC Transitional Care Center to talk to residents and give them small heart-shaped hand-sewn projects. They handed out their hand-made hearts to smiling residents who were happy to receive them.
Since February, Smart’s class has been making the hearts as a service project for Primary Children’s Hospital, local EMTs and Franklin County Medical Center.
After 24 years of teaching, Smart, an Oakwood fourth grade teacher, had an enlightened moment about getting her students to sew little stuffed hearts out of fleece. She called them, “Feelie Hearts.” Although the term was new to the Oakwood teacher it was pretty familiar to many in the medical community.
“Feelie Hearts” are small enough to fit in a pocket and are given to children who may be grieving or in need of comfort. There is a movement afloat in the medical community according to Naomi Remen, MD.
“One little girl gave her heart to her father when her parents divorced. A small boy sent his to his teacher when her own little boy died,” Remen said. “When we have freedom to grieve, loss often turns to compassion.”
A changing moment came to Smart when she saw all of the students working together. Those that could sew helped those who couldn’t. It became an incentive for them to finish their schoolwork. The students showed improvement in their reading and math assignments. After her 24 years of teaching, she found something that motivated students to finish their schoolwork.
This story is sponsored by FCMC: Home Health and Hospice and The Preston Citizen Printing.
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