High School Students Create Cards of Joy for Hospitalized Kids

By Trina Bernal

Featured is Natalie Trowbridge’s card. (Credit: Benicia Paw)

    Cards for Hospitalized Kids (CFHK) is a library event hosted by Teens In Action, a library-school club where there are two advisors, Teen Librarian Brandi Bette Smead at Benicia Public Library and Literature teacher Ms. Thompson at Benicia High School. Teen Advisory Board (TAB) Coordinators Isa Otanez (12) and Caitlin Aquino (12) led the CFHK event, as well as other Library Teen Events. In addition, Teens In Action (TIA) is a club established just last year, where President Nanki Sekhon (12) and the TIA board welcome all high school students not only from Benicia High, but also other high schools like St. Patrick’s St. Vincent’s High School.

    SPSV student Raven O’Kennedy (12) went to the event, thanks to a friend. O’Kennedy says, “It makes me feel good to do something for a good cause, but it’s also relaxing to just sit and draw nice cards.” Which is great because the purpose of CFHK is to send an uplifting message to the 100,000 kids in hospitals in all 50 states that have been reached by us. In addition, if you’re bilingual, CFHK would appreciate you sending in a card with your native language to promote inclusivity for the program.  There is just one rule, don’t add personal information as the cards should be anonymous.

    One of the attendees, Madison Kemp (12) appreciated the opportunity to spread goodness, “Little acts of kindness, such as the cards event, is seldom seen nowadays unfortunately. The way I see it, the more kindness practiced equals to all the more kindness in our world.” Joey Birdseye (11) went to the event for the same reason, and luckily due to library volunteering he heard about the event sooner, “As soon as I knew about it, I thought it was a great cause and something I’d want to contribute towards.”

    Basically, the cards are to be made with love and care. Markers, crayons, and colored pencils were provided along with craft scissors, colorful stationery stickers, stamps, and fun stencils. The event also brings family together, as Neha (12) and her sister Juhi Yadav (9) happily exclaimed their reason for going to the event, “It’s a fulfilling thing to do!” And siblings Katie (11) and Aimee Han (9) thought “it’d be a great way to help out and make others feel better.”

    Not only are students proactive participating in this event, but celebrities also make an effort to include themselves. Pretty Little Liars star Lucy Hale participated, as well as Olympic & World Champion gymnast Aly Raisman, and The Hills actress/fashion designer Lauren Conrad. These famous people help expand the number of participators by utilizing social media and giving away some idol items like autographed albums and cards.

    To be part of this amazing cause, sign up to be part of Teen Advisory Board (TAB) at Benicia Public Library, as all the above students are part of TAB. Just contact Teen Librarian Brandi Bette Smead at bsmead@ci.benicia.ca.us. And the teen event coordinators Aquino (12) and Otanez (12) believed it to be a great thing to do, as Aquino wanted to spend her time wisely. So do come to events because Otanez thought it was a simply organized event that didn’t take more than an hour in total to setup and cleanup. Service hours are also recorded, as well. And while CFHK accepts cards the 365 days of the year, it would be amazing if you send in cards in time for a holiday so the kids can have extra cheer on those days; make sure you mail (in a large envelope) to:

Cards for Hospitalized Kids,

7290 W. Devon Ave.,

Chicago, IL 60631

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