Superheroes, positive affirmations, and natural landscapes were colorfully taking shape inside the blank squares of a quilt. More than 265 volunteers participated in all three Montgomery College campuses on April 9, Good Deeds Day, to create Soaringwords quilts for children with serious and chronic illnesses.
“When kids are ill at home or in the hospital, they have to hang out in bed for a long time. We can help transform a child’s bed by adding a cozy, colorful quilt and pillow decorated with special messages and artwork,” said Nik Sushka, MC service-learning coordinator at the Rockville Campus.
MC teamed up with Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), the Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success (ACES) program, the Universities at Shady Grove and Soaringwords, whose mission is to inspire children and their families to take active roles in self-healing. Good Deeds Day has been an annual tradition since it launched in 2007 in Israel and has now spread to 93 countries with hundreds of thousands of volunteers.
Jesse Sanchez, part of the ACES team, participated at the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus to “bring smiles to the faces of kids who need it.” He said he heard about it from his ACES coach and decided to join. “It motivates the kids, it makes them feel happier that someone is there for them and cares for them,” he said.
Wherever you turn around there is another service activity or exciting classroom activity or a talk, it is quite wonderful.
MC student Mariama Conteh had just found about the event and spent a good part of her lunch break making her addition to the quilt. She worked at the Washington Hospital Center and has seen first-hand how much people need the support. “This will motivate them to want to get better, so I am here to help out.” MC Trustee Michael Brintnall, who was shadowing Conteh as part of Trustee Information Day, also decorated a section of the quilt and was happy to participate: “Every minute I have spent at Montgomery College has been an adventure, and it is extraordinary how many things are going on. Wherever you turn around there is another service activity or exciting classroom activity or a talk, it is quite wonderful. “
Later that day, MC staff brought the finished quilts to Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC, and delivered them to the kids and their families.
Sushka said Student Life had been planning the project with MCPS and ACES colleagues since December. “We had more than 100 MC faculty, staff, and students volunteer alongside 165 MCPS ACES students to create inspirational Soaringwords quilts and superheroes, “ she said. “Seeing the faces of children and families at Children’s National Health Services light up as we distributed quilts and superheroes made our hard work worth it.”