Gayville-Volin Students Make A Warm Donation

VERMILLION — Members of the Gayville-Volin school district recently donated five handmade tie blankets to Sanford Hospital Vermillion. The donation was part of the district's Teachers As Advisors Program.

The overall purpose of Teachers as Advisors (TAA) is to encourage a connection with a caring educator to help students better understand themselves, their strengths and to plan for their future.

After attending a TAA workshop last year, Tom Rice and  Natalie Selchert were motivated to tailor this program for the needs of the students in the Gayville-Volin district. The TAA program at Gayville-Volin is aimed at fostering a sense of connectedness to school, and providing each individual student with a caring adult advisor who they can consult for personal, academic and career concerns.

Students in grades 5-11 were surveyed at the end of the 2008-2009 school year regarding their interests and career goals. The survey also asked students to identify up to three staff members with whom they would feel most comfortable and to whom they would go to for advice or help with a problem. Survey results were used to match up students in grades 6-12 with an advisor for the 2009-2010 school year.

Each advisory group ranges in size from four to eight students. Students and their advisors participate in a variety of activities, including academic progress checks, goal setting, career exploration and planning, and personal development. Some advisories also have taken on special service projects.

"The idea for the tie blankets came to mind during the Christmas season with the concept that it is better to give than to receive. We wanted the students to be able to share in the whole process of creating something and sharing it with others," said Merissa Zajic, Elementary Special Education, Gayville-Volin School District.

The group decided that it would be nice to make the blankets and donate them to children who are hospitalized for any reason. The students really enjoyed the whole process of making the blankets and delivering them to the hospital.

"It was great to see how proud the students were to be able to share their talents with the community. All of the material used for the project was donated by Wal-Mart. We are thankful for their efforts to make this service project a success," Selchert said.

"We so appreciate the donation of the tie blankets. What a warm and comforting gift for our pediatric patients at the hospital," commented Mylynn Hanson, Chief Nursing Officer, Sanford Hospital Vermillion. "And, even more special as it comes from the students."

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