Andersonville Elementary students Layla Jordan, 10, and her friend Payton Robinson, 10, started planning their journey of giving in September, much earlier than most people start their Christmas shopping. These adorable girls with hearts of gold “warmed up” fellow students and staff to fulfill one special mission–the “Wishing Warm Holidays” Project. They wanted to give coloring books and crayons to sick kids at DMC Children’s Hospital in Troy.
“We raised money by selling hot chocolate packets that we put together ourselves. Then we sold them for $1 each and raised $311. Then on Sunday, we bought all of the coloring books and crayons and we’re shooting to deliver them tomorrow,” Jordan said, smiling. The girls say they have 150 coloring books and 150 crayons to give to the sick children at the hospital. Layla, the creator of the project, explains what sparked her interest in this project. “There’s a girl in my class that is sick, and she can’t be in school with us right now and she is in the hospital because of it. So I thought, what can I do to help,” Layla said. Girls make holidays bright at kids hospital. She then went to buddy Robinson who explains what made her interested in the project. “When she asked me and she told me all about it, it sounded awesome cause I know my friend Kaitlyn, her sister was in the hospital for a while and I know how hard it is to be in the hospital without anything to do and just sitting there. So I thought it was an excellent idea, and I love to help others,” Robinson said. These girls not only have amazing compassion, but also leadership skills. When asked how they got started, it was pleasantly surprising to hear how much initiative Layla and Payton had. They personally reached out to Amanda Sayre, Child Life Project Specialist who handles special events and donations at DMC Children’s. Jordan said, “We actually called the hospital. She (Amanda) thought that it was a good idea and that it would be good if we could do that.” Along with Principal Kim Fletcher and the staff at DMC, Layla and Robinson’s parents are also very proud of them. “My parents love the idea and they think it’s amazing,” said Robinson. “Yeah my parents said they were very proud and overwhelmed a little bit” Jordan said. The girls also had some words of advice and inspiration for other kids to follow in their footsteps of fundraising or helping sick people.
Jordan said, “What I would say is just a little idea can turn into something big with enough time and the right people.” Robinson echoed her good friend’s sentiments. “If you have a dream, follow it, and it can really turn into something huge and make a really big difference in your life and maybe inspire a lot of people to do it,” she said. Well they must have a contagious spirit, because the response to this project was pretty impressive. Principal Fletcher was proud to mention how the girls showed their gratitude and the bountiful result of their fundraiser last Monday at a school event. Additionally, the principal showed a little PowerPoint presentation with music and
showed it at the event. “We have school-wide meetings where we come together as a school family every other Monday and we recognized everything that they have done. They got up in front of the whole school and said thank you to the school for helping them raise all of that money. They raised every single dollar to go out and buy the
materials to take to the children. They displayed 150 coloring books and 150 crayons. So it was great that the kids that ordered hot chocolate and participated in the fundraiser, got to see what that actually looked like,” Fletcher said. “They have inspired lots of people here and several people did come up after the school meeting and say, ‘how can we help.’ Then I was just telling them (the girls) that we have several younger
students who want to help as well and they have been making homemade coloring books and bringing them to add to the collection.”
The principal also reminded the students the school is a family and everybody there has value and something to give to the world. She emphasizes to them it doesn’t have to be a monetary or material gift and it can be a gift of love and time. “That’s what these girls have done, given love and time, and gave back to kids who aren’t as fortunate as us” she said. Fletcher added, “They’re amazing girls, I’m so proud of them. They inspire me and they inspire everyone.”