Blankets are a warm hug for students in crisis

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The Goddard Woman’s Club makes blankets each year for Goddard Public Schools students facing trauma or crisis.

GODDARD – Each school year, the Goddard Woman’s Club comes together in a unique way to serve students in Goddard Public Schools.
Since 2014, members of the club have been hand-making blankets that are distributed to school counselors in Goddard Public Schools. Counselors then have a “warm hug” and a book that they can deliver to students who have experienced a crisis in their life to remind them that their community and school family care for them.
“When you visit with a student that has lost a loved one, or has changed foster homes, or experienced some other traumatic event, it’s wonderful to have a nice, warm blanket that students can wrap themselves up in,” said Megan Alexander, counselor at Challenger Intermediate School. “They light up, get wrapped up in their new blanket, and get a nice new book to read. Whatever they may be experiencing, they can be reminded that their school family is there for them and know that it provides comfort during a time of need.”
Janine Eilert, who currently serves as president of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs of Kansas and is former president and long-standing member of the Goddard Woman’s Club, took this initiative to heart. When her daughter, Emily, was in middle school in Goddard, their family experienced a crisis. Eilert lost her nephew who was a close cousin of Emily in a tragic motorcycle accident.
This was a sudden, traumatic experience for Emily, but she remembered clearly how her counselor helped comfort her daughter through this time of need.
“Lisa Tyler, counselor of GMS, had reached out to Emily with a whole stack of cards from her friends at school and a nice, warm blanket,” Eilert said. “I remember the relief and comfort it gave her, and it really impacted me on how meaningful it was to receive that help when we needed it most.”
Later, Janine’s other daughter, Grace, remembered the blanket her sister received in middle school while developing a community project. Working with her school counselor, they decided that she could give back to other students by creating blankets to distribute to other counselors in Goddard Public Schools, to give to students that may be experiencing a crisis.
Those blankets were quickly distributed, creating a need and inspiration for the Goddard Woman’s Club to fill. Since 2014, the Goddard Woman’s Club comes together twice during the summer months to take fabric and with a lot of love, make blankets that are then distributed with books and other items to all the school counselors in Goddard Public Schools to give to students when needed.
“We may not know who the blankets go to, but we do know that they are making a difference. I remember the impact it made on my family so many years ago, and we are grateful to pay it forward and provide the care, comfort, and love to students and families that need it. We want students to know that whatever they are experiencing, you are an important part of this community and that your school family and the Goddard Woman’s Club is here to support you,” Eilert said.
The Goddard Woman’s Club and counselors of USD 265 were the recipients of a Goddard Education Foundation Innovative Grant. For more information about partnering with the Goddard Education Foundation or to make a donation, go to www.goddardef.org/parnters.