Students at Springfield and E. Russell Hicks middle schools participated in a project aptly named “Handmade with a Heart” during the month of February. This project allowed the students to create dog and cat toys during their school makerspace time that would be donated to animal rescues and shelters.
A makerspace is a place where students can gather together to create, invent, explore, and discover. Many times these makerspaces have a focus for students creative energies or some participate in what is known as compassionate making. The idea for the “Handmade with a Heart” project came from an article called “The Compassionate Maker: #Make a Difference in the World.”
After a conversation between Jona French, Supervisor for Library Media Programs in Washington County Public Schools, and two of her library media specialists, Christine Hurley and Stephanie Wilkinson, the project was planned and the necessary materials were collected.
To say that the project was a “hit” with the students would be an understatement! Both media specialists continually had students asking if they could come and make the toys… and supplies had to be collected continually throughout the month as they kept running out! The piles of toys grew and grew and the next step was finding the places to donate them to.
Mrs. French is also a volunteer with For Otis Sake Rescue so she consulted with rescue founders, Laurie Brewer and Kelly Middleton, and the following rescues/shelters were selected:
- For Otis Sake Rescue (Hagerstown, MD)
- Into the Wild Cat Rescue (Hagerstown, MD)
- A Reason To Believe Animal Rescue (Mingo County, WV)
- Greene County Animal Shelter (Ruckersville, VA)
- Hound Haven of Lone Pine (Lone Pine, PA)
- And Greenbrier Humane Society (Lewisburg, WV)
At the end of February all toys were collected, sorted, and boxed in preparation for shipment to their final destination. Each organization received about 60 dog and/or cat toys for their rescued animals!
The students should be so proud of their work and their contributions! AND they are looking forward to running the activity again next year!
The “Making” Process
Playful Pups and Kitties