MOOERS - The experience of being in a hospital can be overwhelming for some children, but through the magic of reading, local elementary students hope they can help kids take their minds off their stay.
Last week, students from Mooers Elementary School presented a donation of books to Vermont Children's Hospital in Burlington, Vt. Third grade teacher Kimberly Wells, who coordinated the donation, said it was the second year students collected books for the hospital.
"This evolved from a desire to thank the hospital staff for the kindness and care they had shown to the son of one of our teachers who was seriously ill and had spent months at the hospital," explained Wells.
Last February, when many other schools were busy focusing on celebrating Valentine's Day, Mooers students collected books, said Wells. The tradition continued as third grade teachers coordinated a collection again this year in honor of other students being helped by the Burlington hospital.
"We felt it was a good way for the students to do something along the lines of community service and give something from the heart, rather than exchanging the traditional paper valentines," she said.
This year, approximately 130 books were collected, which is a number comparable to last year, said Wells. The school's Parent-Teacher Partnership and other volunteers also took time to dress up the donation, placing the books in valentine baskets.
The donation, said Wells, is one she hopes families and children at the hospital will be able to use during their stay.
"I felt happy when I knew the books were going to the children's hospital," said one third grade student. "I thought maybe a sick child could read with their parents at bedtime, and that would make them happy."
"I felt very kind because I gave a book to the hospital so the children will have something to do besides watch TV," said another.
Principal Dennis A. Rasco said he is proud of how the students, faculty and parents came together once again to make the donation possible.
"A project like this really demonstrates the caring of the students and the community," he said. "These books will be used by many, many children."
In addition to the donation of books, Mooers Elementary and other schools within the Northeastern Clinton Central School District are continuing to participate in the Big Change Roundup for Kids, a fundraiser sponsored by WOKO 98.9 FM and Wal-Mart to benefit the Vermont Children's Hospital.
For more information about that fundraiser, contact coordinator Melody Trombley at 298-8681, or visit www.bigchangeroundup.org.