• Darlene Keaty (left) and Ann Hole, members of the Golden Panthers group, pitch in to make a blanket
  • Karyl DeBruyn explains how members of the Golden Panthers will make more than a dozen blankets at a recent meeting of the senior citizen club

Caring Comfort for Sick Students

Seniors’ Group Fashions Homemade Blankets

by Steve Vedder  

Jan Elderkin has been down this road before.

A member of the Comstock Park Golden Panthers senior citizens group, Elderkin said she jumped at the chance to join club members in producing homemade blankets for nurse rooms in the school system's five schools.

Because Elderkin recently made blankets with her 9-year-old granddaughter as part of another project, she was more than happy to lend her help to a project that will aid sick children within the Comstock Park system.

"I feel good about helping; it's something that helps the schools," she said of the Wellness Blanket Project. "It helps kids at school that don't feel well. Everyone should feel that way about helping."

The first-time project was undertaken by the Golden Panthers following an enhanced physical fitness class at Greenridge School. The project was funded by a $250 Thrivent Community Action grant, which included material to make between 10 and 15 blankets.

Comstock Park school nurse Karyl DeBruyn sifts through materials to make blankets for needy studentsThe six-step procedure to make the blankets includes cutting and trimming patterns.

Golden Panther member Keith Edwards said making blankets is a major departure from the group's usual activities such as workouts.

"It's different than what most senior citizen groups do," Edwards said. "But it's something for the community. It's not what you'd usually think we do, like Bingo or enhanced fitness or learning programs. This is hands-on."

Students Can Keep Them

Comstock Park nurse Karyl DeBruyn said the blankets will comfort sick children who report to school offices while awaiting pickup by parents. The kids will be allowed to keep the blankets.

DeBruyn said the blankets would cost $50 each if schools had to purchase them. She estimates that approximately 100 sick students report to district school offices each year. DeBruyn said the project will likely seek additional grant money.

"Some might not have blankets available," she said. "What we want to do is provide as much comfort as we can for these kids."

DeBruyn said the Golden Panthers' efforts are greatly appreciated.

"I think it's equally beneficial for the one making it and ones using them," she said. "They stepped into action. It strengthens the Comstock Park community and the students."

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Comstock Park Golden Panthers

Submitted on: January 20th 2017

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