By Sharon Salyer Herald Writer
MUKILTEO — Volunteering isn’t just for adults, as Olympic View Middle School students are eager to demonstrate.
The 12-, 13- and 14-year-olds have lent their helping hands to provide comfort to hospice patients, just one of the community service projects they’ve undertaken this school year.
Members of the HOPE Club decided to make “butterfly pillows,” dozens and dozens of them.
The pillows are shaped in a way that they can support the neck, back, arms and legs of hospice patients.
Amanda Cook, 14, said that some members of the club were drawn to the project because they know hospice patients.
“For me personally … it was the idea of being able to help somebody who wasn’t as well off as I was health-wise,” she said.
Cook helped cut the material for the pillows and assisted with hand-sewing along the pillow’s finishing edges.
She said she also helped teach some of the seventh-graders how to do the hand-sewing.
The students recently delivered large bags filled with 193 pillows to the Everett offices of Providence Hospice and Home Care of Snohomish County.
“They were really surprised by all our pillows,” said Emma Harrison, 12, who is in seventh grade. Her tasks on the project including sewing and stuffing the pillows.
The class started on the project in September, she said.
“It’s a good way to give back and not just think about yourself,” said 13-year-old Laura Campbell, who is in eighth grade.
Providence Hospice and Home Care distributes 60 to 100 of these pillows a month, made by volunteers throughout the county.
“Those pillows are loved, well used,” said Joanie Hemm, a volunteer support specialist with the nonprofit organization. “We’re just really happy that they’ve taken on work for our organization for their project.”
The HOPE Club has undertaken sewing projects for hospice for three years, but this year’s delivery was the largest ever, said Cheryl Phillip, the club’s adviser.
The hospice pillow project is just one of several projects the group is taking on this school year. It also organized a giving tree that helped provide food baskets at Thanksgiving and food and gifts for 15 families at Christmas, she said.
The latest project involves making blankets for Seattle Children’s Hospital.
“Every child that spends the night at Children’s gets a homemade blanket,” Phillip said. “It gives them that extra love.”
The club members are intent on giving without seeking recognition, she said. “They just want to give, and that’s what makes their lives worth living.”
Student Emma Harrison said she would like to keep on helping people. “When you do, and see the expression on their face, when you’re doing it or it’s done, it’s priceless,” she said. “It’s just a great feeling to know that you’ve made someone’s life so much better.”
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone interested in volunteering at Providence Hospice and Home Care of Snohomish County may call 425-261-4815.