By Cathy Harasta
The Texas Catholic
FARMERS BRANCH — On an April afternoon, students at Mary Immaculate Catholic School made warm, lasting memories as they hand-crafted blankets to give to ill and traumatized children.
The school’s 110 seventh- and eighth-graders joined forces in the Parish Hall and produced 36 fleece blankets to donate to Project Linus, a non-profit organization that provides homemade blankets to young people deeply in need of a sense of security.
The opportunity to comfort children they never would meet expanded their faith journeys, said members of the student council, which raised money for the service project’s materials by sponsoring a dance at the school.
Kimberly Murawski, who teaches math and religion and oversees service projects and the student council, said that the students worked in teams of three or four to match and trim the fabrics, which featured polka dots, plaids and sports themes.
“A lot of good things came out of the project,” she said. “It’s good for kids to see that they can have fun while helping other people and serving people beyond themselves. Every student got involved. No one said, ‘I’m too cool.’
“This group has done a good job about wanting to make a difference.”
Eighth-grader Alicia Talamas said that she envisioned that a child in need of comfort would feel love and warmth from a blanket made in truly good faith.
“To have that blanket would make them feel almost every single time that God is hugging them,” Talamas said. “A lot of times, we start complaining about things that are ridiculous. We’ll say, ‘Mom, I don’t want to eat that or do this.’
“We should stop and take a timeout.”
Eighth-grader Marisa Martinez said that the students wanted to provide help in an unselfish way that reached beyond their immediate experiences and daily lives.
“I realized how easy it is to make someone else happy,” she said. “I think it’s great that it involved all the junior high students. I feel privileged that I go to a Catholic school with opportunities to help people in ways like this.”
Mary Immaculate Principal Matthew Krause said that the project rewarded students and the community at large.
“In talking with the student council, we thought this was a great opportunity to give back to the community and to help those in need in a way that was tangible and could truly assist them in their day-to-day life,” Krause said.
Eighth-grader Sydney Nguyen said that she pictured her cousin, who suffers from a muscular disease, as she was making her blanket.
“Every time I see him from now on, I’ll think of being part of Project Linus,” she said. “I’ll think of how the blanket would comfort somebody like my cousin. If I got a blanket from a stranger who had decided to make it to help others, it would be very special. I’d keep it forever.
“When we do something like Project Linus, it makes us better people.”