Elementary school students give back for MLK Day of Service

Pocopson Elementary participates in Unionville-Chadds Ford School District’s annual ‘Day on, not a day off’ program

By Suzanne Misciagna, Staff Writer, The Times

Pocopson Elementary Second grader, Kaitlyn Wahl, carefully works on drawing a butterfly to be added to one of the quilts sent to A.I. duPont Hospital for Children and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

POCOPSON – On Monday, many students in the Unionville Chadds-Ford School district turned their day off from studying into a day “on” for service. It’s all part of the district’s sixth annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.

Pocopson Elementary School was just one of many schools in the district which opened its doors to students and parents for service opportunities as a way of giving back to the community.

Stations were set up throughout the school’s gymnasium for designing patchwork squares for quilts, creating bookmarks, and tying fleece blankets. Approximately 100 fleece blankets were made along with over a dozen patchwork quilts carefully sewn. The blankets will provide warmth and comfort for sick children at the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. In addition, piles of children’s books, donated from Pocopson’s annual Book Swap earlier this year, will be sent to the hospitals too along with one-of-a-kind bookmarks designed by students themselves.

Pocopson first grade classmates Emma Stanislawczyk and Bella Farrell were busy designing bookmarks with rainbows and smiley faces. The bookmarks were not complete without some well wishes for the children to ‘feel better soon.’

“I thought it would be fun to come here because I enjoy making things to help other people,” says Stanislawczyk. “My mom helped out too by cutting fabric for the blankets,” she adds.

“It’s fun to help out and to see your friends,” says Farrell. “I made a bookmark because I like drawing and reading. I feel good that the books are going to kids in the hospital.”

Kaitlyn Wahl, a second grader at Pocopson Elementary, chose to design a patchwork square for the quilt blankets. “I never attended MLK day before,” says Wahl. “I wanted to come this time because I saw all the pictures from MLK day in my school yearbook last year. I saw how fun it looked to make blankets and quilts.”

Patton Middle School seventh grader, Shuhan Yin, works on tying her fourth fleece blanket as part of Pocopson’s MLK Day of Service.

Middle school students, like Shuhan Yin, a seventh grader at Patton Middle School, also woke up early to lend a hand. “I’ve been coming here since fifth grade,” says Yin. This year, Yin took her sister along for the first time and showed her the ropes of tying fleece blankets. “I like working with my hands,” says Yin. “It’s actually pretty fun.”

The MLK day of service is a natural fit for Pocopson Elementary.

“We look for opportunities throughout the year that tie in with our school’s community service theme of Kids Helping Kids,” says Pocopson Elementary School Principal, Dr. Andrew McLaughlin. “It’s a good way for the kids to have fun while helping other children too.”

Pocopson Elementary wasn’t the only elementary school in the district focused on service. Hillendale Elementary School served as a soup kitchen with volunteers preparing quarts of soup as well as bagged lunches for delivery to local shelters and food banks.

All schools in the district also participated in a district-wide food drive with donations going directly to the Kennett Food Cupboard.

On this day of service, there appeared to be something for everyone.

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Tags: Day of Service, Martin Luther King Jr., pocopson elementary school, Unionville-Chadds Ford School District

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