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Wrapped up in love

SOCIAL CAUSES

Posted: June 15, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: June 15, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Students in Dobbin Farrell's Bridgeport Elementary kindergarten class hold up the quilt squares they decorated for Project Linus. Alexa Ferrante / For The Signal

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About seven months ago at Bridgeport Elementary, the kids in Room A8 began a project that would touch the life of a child in need.

The youngsters gathered round Tuesday to see the culmination of their finished work: a quilt, ready to be sent off to a distressed child in the area.

Looking for a chance to do some good, Dobbin Farrell’s kindergarten class participated in Project Linus, a national nonprofit with a local chapter that collects and distributes blankets and to children in hospitals, shelters, social service agencies and other places of need.

When Farrell and room mom Lauren Herrera put their heads together to search for a special class project, they stumbled upon Project Linus, which aims to “comfort critically ill or traumatized kids ages 0 to 17 years of age, and to basically give hand-made hugs,” said Sharon Garvar, chapter coordinator for the Santa Clarita, Antelope Valley and Sylmar.

Garvar said she started with the organization after her son spent time in the NICU and received a blanket himself.

Her family felt such warmth and comfort from this act of kindness that she decided to get involved as well, she said. Now she’s passing it on to Santa Clarita.

In December, the kindergarteners began their project, each choosing a letter of the alphabet to place on a quilt square and decorate.

Attempting to help her class comprehend the good deed they were contributing to, Farrell explained to the kids why they would be helping Project Linus.

“This was a hard concept for them to understand,” Farrell said. “We spoke a long time about how they may get sick or hurt, but they do get better.”

However, Room A8 was all smiles Tueasday afternoon as Garvar had the kids fill the blanket with love.

Each kindergartener took a turn hugging the blanket, so it would be filled with enough love for a child in need.

Then the blanket would be sent off to one of the 15 organizations Project Linus services, including Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, the Michael Hoefflin Foundation and the Domestic Violence Center of SCV.

“I think it all came together today when they saw their quilt,” Farrell said. “It was an amazing moment to see them hug the quilt and have them see their squares.”

The local chapter has only been open for a year, but has already delivered 935 blankets, xxx said.

Project Linus will continue to reach out to youth by offering a “Study Project Linus” nonprofit venture that will teach kids and teens how to run the organization, as well as show them blanket-making techniques.

“It’s building and expanding, and it’s great,” Garvar said. “We have a lot of kids helping other kids in our community, and it’s wonderful.”

Anyone interested in joining or donating to Project Linus can visit scvprojectlinus.org.

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