Earlier this month, I had the honor and privilege to attend the final day of the Color Wars competition at the Academy of Allied Health & Science high school, in Neptune. One of the activities held during the week long color wars competition was a collection of supplies for our Hannah's Heroes Arts & Crafts Drive. Led by faculty members, Kathy Fitzsimmons and Kelly Reilly, the students participated in a school wide competition, scoring points for specific craft items including crayons, colored pencils, markers and sketch pads. Each item held a point value and the team (blue vs gray) with the most points earned a color wars team point. The Blue team consisted of Freshman & Seniors, while the Gray team is the Sophomores & Juniors. I was told prior to arriving to make sure I arrived in an empty car because they had collected a massive amount of crafts. Well, nothing could have prepared me for what I was presented with! The students loaded my car with cases upon cases of crayons, markers, pencils & sketch pads! What a wonderful gift that will be shared with many children, both at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia as well as Jersey Shore Medical Center.
Once the students packed my car, I was invited to speak to the entire student body about what their kindness means to our family as well as to the children in the hospital fighting for their lives. A gift as simple as a box of crayons or pencils & a sketch pad mean the world to a child in the hospital -- these craft items are a lifeline for the children, many of whom are restricted to their rooms for days or weeks at a time. I shared a bit about Hannah's journey and her wish for us to continue to pay it forward and told them that while I arrived in an empty car, I would be leaving with not only a car packed with crafts but also a very full heart. Kindness matters, and my hope is that these students know that their generosity will brighten the lives of so many.