A group of young patients at Children's Hospital in Oakland celebrated Valentine's Day with warm, festive, decorated blankets made by students in the fifth grade at Pleasanton's Donlon Elementary School.
About 100 of students in the school's four fifth grades participated in the project planned by Britni Miller, one of the fifth grade teachers, while she was on maternity leave last year after her daughter Aubrey, now 6 months old, was born. She and her husband Mark also have a second daughter, Peyton, who will be 3 in April.
Scanning the website DonorsChoose.org, an online charity that makes it easy for anyone to help students in need, Miller signed up for the blanket project. Over the Christmas holidays, she got word that her project had been approved and funded. Instructions and materials for making 16 fleece blankets were on their way, along with cut-outs of "Kitty cats," trucks and starry nights images.
Working with the three other fifth grade teachers, Miller assembled the participating students in the school library Friday afternoons to cut the material, tie it together to make blankets, affix the decorative images, write Valentine's cards for the patients and also write thank you notes to those who donated funds for the project. Those cards will be sent to donors by DonorsChoose.org.
This is Miller's seventh year as a teacher, including three years as a resource specialist in special education at Donlon. Born in Pleasanton, she attended Walnut Grove Elementary, Harvest Park Middle School and graduated from Foothill High School in 2003.
"I planned this project to give students an opportunity to learn the importance of 'giving back,' not just 'receiving,' while also learning new skills in making something that will help others," Miller said.