ARLINGTON — The two 12-year-old boys gathered supplies: paper cutouts, stickers, glue sticks, glitter, markers, colored pencils.
Then Brayden Whetstine and Bjorn Gudgeon, Haller Middle School students, returned to their table. They worked diligently to make pop-up cards that will be sent to children who are in the hospital repeatedly or for long periods of time.
The Arlington Library hosted a “T(w)een” event earlier this month for local children and teenagers to make and donate the cards. They’ll go to Chicago-based Cards for Hospitalized Kids for distribution.
Teen librarian Abby Bormann tries to plan civic engagement events for young people at least once every two months. Sometimes, they overlap. Donations were being collected for a food drive while students worked on the cards.
“I’ve been looking for opportunities for our teens to look beyond their own lives and make something for someone who really needs it instead of just fun crafts to take home,” Bormann said.
A boy stopped by just long enough to make one card. Other participants stayed for the better part of an hour, crafting a growing pile of pop-up cards.
“These are looking awesome,” Bormann said as Whetstine and Gudgeon dropped off a handful.
Gudgeon tries to make it to just about every teen event at the library. This one was special.
“I thought it would be fun to make a kid’s day,” he said.
His brother has been in the hospital before, he said. He remembers when his brother’s friends made him a big poster. Gudgeon knows how much something like that can mean.
“They can’t see other people a lot,” he said. “They can’t see their friends as much.”
He found inspiration for his cards by choosing stickers of characters from movies he likes, then picking quotes to go with them, he said.
Whetstine went with a theme of sky and ocean. He wanted to create cards that would make people feel as though they were soaring over the water, he said.
One card read: “Reach for the sky.” Another: “The sky has no limit.”
“I just thought this would be a good opportunity to help kids and make them feel better about themselves,” Whetstine said.
There will be more service events at the library, Bormann said. She’s planning something for Arbor Day, a food drive during the Hungry Games in June, and an all-ages card-making event around Veterans Day. Those cards would go to men and women serving overseas.
Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; firstname.lastname@example.org.