Eight-year-old Eliza Goldman had a simple reason for asking classmates at Wampus Elementary School in Byram Hills to help out kids who are in the hospital.
“If I was in the hospital, I would feel sad,” explained Eliza, a third-grader. “I think that if you get a present, it would probably make you smile. And once you start to smile, I think you start to feel better.”
Students at Wampus and Coman Hill elementary schools in the Byram Hills Central School District recently brought containers of Play-Doh and character Band-Aids that will be given to hospitalized children by The Pinwheel Project. Sandee Martensen, the group’s founder and an Armonk resident, collected the donations this week.
“I love the idea of children helping children,” said Martensen. “It’s good for kids to know from day one that it’s their job – and all of our jobs – to help children who are hospitalized.” Along with providing small gifts to children at 15 area hospitals, the non-profit Pinwheel Project offers a variety of support to families of sick children.
Wampus Principal Debra Cagliostro said she and the faculty welcome drives like the Pinwheel project.
“In teaching our students about service and developing empathy, any project that connects directly to children has a deeper impact,” she said. “The students can relate to other children. They think more about it and the results are truly heartening.”
Coman Hill Principal Peggy McInerny said the Pinwheel Project dovetails with a school theme that encourages “filling buckets,” a term drawn from the best-selling picture book, “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” By doing kind deeds, the children learn that they are filling others’ buckets, along with their own.
“The Pinwheel Project is all about filling other people’s buckets,” she noted. The collection drives were organized by the schools’ community service committees, and coordinated by parents Deborah Goldman and Ally Wolland.