Local youths make cards at Evergreen Park Library for hospitalized children

  • Written by Dermot Connolly

claire cushing photo 9-15

Photo by Kelly White

Claire Cushing, 3, of Evergreen Park, is working hard on her handmade cards for hospitalized children at the Evergreen Park Public Library.

Evergreen Park Public Library’s youth patrons have extended their hearts in a project geared toward hospitalized children.

On Sept. 7, 20 library patrons, consisting of young children and their parents, gathered at Evergreen Park Public Library, 9400 S. Troy Ave., to make handmade cards for hospitalized children.

The cards were created out of construction paper with markers, colored pencils and crayons – each with an uplifting and encouraging message written inside and a drawing on the front.

“This was a great event to get the kids actively involved in something important,” said Evergreen Park resident Colleen Cushing.

Cushing attended the event with her two children, Charlie, 5, and Claire, 3.

“This is a lot of fun,” Claire Cushing said as she sprinkled her card with glitter.

The event was free and open to the general public. It was organized and guided by Laura Meyer, the children's librarian.

“Kids love to make cards and be creative so it's fun for them to make cards for someone else,” Meyer said. “It also gives them a chance to brighten the day of another child.”

Meyer contacted Cards for Hospitalized Kids, a non-for-profit organization based out of Chicago. She said that the organization is an internationally recognized charitable organization that spreads hope, joy and magic to hospitalized kids across America through uplifting, handmade cards. The program has been running for five years and at the discretion of the organization, over 100,000 children in hospitals in all 50 states have received a personalized card through the organization thanks to volunteers like those at Evergreen Park Public Library.

Meyer personally sent the 100 handmade cards to Cards for Hospitalized Kids. The cards did not need to be in individual envelopes and will be delivered from volunteers of the organization to hospitalized children.

“The cards were made on our fanciest construction paper cards that you’ve ever seen,” Meyer said. “This is the first time we held this event, but we are going to continue it once a month through December.”

Participants were not instructed by library staff on what to write inside of the cards; instead the staff encouraged them to be creative and unique, keeping each card happy and positive, according to Meyer.

“We just wanted to send uplifting messages that focused on the whole child, rather than their illness,” Meyer said. “The project was unique because it gave anyone in the community an opportunity to volunteer, be crafty and do something kind for someone else.”  

The cards held a variety of messages including, “You are awesome” and “Never forget how amazing you are.”

Writing a card with the message, “You are awesome” on the cover was Asiyah Arasheed, 11, of Evergreen Park.

“I chose this message because I truly believe that everyone is awesome in their own way,” Arasheed said. “I’m having a lot of fun here today making cards for hospitalized children. I really enjoy making people happy.”

The library will hold more card-making days from 4 to 6 p.m. Oct. 5, Nov. 2 and Dec. 7 on the first Wednesday of the month.