Kindergarten through third grade students combined their efforts to create 15 fleece tie blankets that will be given to children at Minneapolis Children’s Hospital through the Blankets for a Brighter Day foundation. PHOTO: MARLENE DESCHLER/SPRING GROVE HERALD<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->
Kindergarten through third grade students combined their efforts to create 15 fleece tie blankets that will be given to children at Minneapolis Children’s Hospital through the Blankets for a Brighter Day foundation. PHOTO: MARLENE DESCHLER/SPRING GROVE HERALD

"Here and there and wherever the sun warmed the earth, it was said she made the prettiest quilts anyone had ever seen. Some said there was magic in her fingers...and still others said the quilts really fell to earth from the shoulders of passing angels," reads the story "The Quiltmakers Gift" by Jeff Brumbeau.

Many little angels created quilts with their magic fingers on Valentines Day at Spring Grove Public School as they carefully cut and tied the blankets that will go on to brighten the day of another child.

This project was coordinated by elementary teacher, Deb Sullivan. "Last June I went to the high school graduation of the students that were in my first 1st grade class in Hudson, Wisconsin, where I was teaching at the time. Just before going, I found out that one of these students, Katelyn Baier, had had Crohns disease throughout her education career and missed a ton of school," explained Sullivan. "She still finished all of her work and graduated with her class cum laude. During one of her hospital stays she received a blanket; it really brightened her day so she created the foundation, "Blankets for a Brighter Day."

Katelyn's website, www.blanketsforabrighterday.org, goes on to explain more about how the foundation came about, ("Since being diagnosed with Crohns disease) I have had three surgeries, many procedures and hospital stays, mostly at Minneapolis Children's Hospital. During my different procedures and hospital stays I met a group of people who work in the Child Life Department at the hospital. Child Life works to make every child's health care experience a positive one. They work with children and adolescents to minimize the stress children can feel during hospital stays or visits to the clinic, emergency room, radiology or surgery area. I have received many benefits from the Minneapolis Children's Hospital Child Life Department. During one particularly difficult radiology test, I received a tie blanket. That tie blanket made my day a little brighter and helped me get though that difficult procedure. I continue to bring that tie blanket to difficult procedures or hospital stays. Given my positive experiences, I decided I wanted to make someone's day brighter. I wanted to make an impact."

Since last June when Sullivan talked to Katelyn and heard of her foundation she has been wanting to help out. "I've been waiting to find the perfect time to do this," Sullivan remarked, "and it just worked out well to do it on Valentine's Day - a day of love and giving."

The blanket tying project at Spring Grove Public School was done by students in kindergarten through third grade. Parents were asked to donate fleece. On Valentine's Day morning, the students all gathered in the Media Center to hear the story, "The Quiltmaker's Gift" that told of a king and quiltmaker and how the king came to realize that having many, many possessions was not as important as making others happy.

Sullivan then explained to the students why they were going to be making blankets and whom the blankets would be going to. She asked them if this is something they would like to do and their response was an overwhelming "yes!"

The students were intermixed as they headed off to the various classrooms where they began cutting the edges for tying the 15 blankets that they would make. With older students assisting younger students they all began tying the two pieces of fleece together...there was magic in their fingers as they created blankets that will go on to brighten the day of a sick child; blankets that have come from the work of these student angels.

For more information about Blankets for a Brighter Day, visit their website, www.blanketsforabrighterday.org, or their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/Blankets-For-A-Brighter-Day. Information is available on their site for donating money to help purchase fleece or instructions on making and donating the fleece tie blankets. As of February 12, 2014, Blankets for a Brighter Day have donated 1,141 fleece tie blankets (does not include the ones the Spring Grove students made).