It’s the third year students at Children of St. Martha School in Lethbridge are taking part in Blankets of Hope. In fact, they’re one of just a handful of Canadian schools chosen to be an ambassador.
Blankets of Hope is a non-profit organization started by two brothers, Nick and Mike Fiorito, in New York City. They were looking to spread the message of love, kindness, and compassion.
For the students at Children of St. Martha School, their letters of hope are written and attached to blankets. These are donated to Streets Alive Mission to be given out to homeless and vulnerable people in the community.
Kindergarten teacher Laurie McIntosh believes spreading this message will help inspire her students for years to come.
“Sometimes we’re given the message that we’re preparing kids for the future and preparing them to be leaders,” McIntosh said. “But this provides us with an opportunity (for them to be) leaders today.”
And the students are more than happy to be a part of Blankets of Hope.
Grade 1 student Celia Schindel believes this isn’t just about helping other people, but also helping yourself.
“When you share a kind word with someone, it makes your heart feel good.”
Her letter reads, “You matter. I hope you stay warm.”
Grade 4 student Ainsley Zacher is also excited to take part in Blankets of Hope this year. The letter she wrote reads, “Hey you, you are loved. You will get through this. I believe in you.”
It was important for her to let people know that they’re not alone.
“Everyone should be loved and they are loved,” Zacher said.
The Friorito brothers had a video call with the students earlier in the day. They shared their reason for starting Blankets of Hope and asked the students to think about the people who would be receiving the blankets and adding a message of ‘we believe in you.’
“But then they also passed along that message to us,” McIntosh said. “They said how much they believe in us as a little school community up here in Canada, giving out these blankets and making a difference in our community.”
It’s a message McIntosh hopes her students will continue to carry with them.
“They can be four-year-old leaders, five-year-old leaders, or 11-year-old leaders,” she said.
“We don’t have to wait until they’re adults to change the community. We don’t have to wait to make a difference in Lethbridge. We can start that right now.”