Kanaka Creek kindergarten teacher Dawn Flanagan is collecting artwork from Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows School District students and sharing the cards with seniors to remind them they are not alone during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Cards of Hope project started as something Kanaka kids and families could participate in, but it grew quite quickly to include the whole district and beyond,” says Flanagan. “It has provided a way for anyone to help a vulnerable senior during the pandemic by offering art and words of comfort.”
So far, Flanagan has nearly 80 submissions from artists ranging in age from two to 70 for her Cards of Hope project.
The cards she collects are distributed by email to participating care facilities in the province and the hospital and hospice in Maple Ridge.
Flanagan has invited teachers across the school district to use Cards of Hope as a social emotional learning (SEL) project with their students.
She has these tips for student card-makers: “The artwork works best in colour with a simple message of hope or encouragement in bold to our seniors, caregivers or essential service workers.”
This week, Flanagan was pleased to learn that Cards of Hope is the recipient of a Neighbourhood Small Grant (NSG) awarded by the City of Maple Ridge in partnership with the Vancouver Foundation. In order to meet the criteria for the NSG, initiatives had to develop neighbourhood connections/bring the community together.
“In our case, it was bringing art from the community to the socially isolated. We will use the funds awarded to have a Cards of Hope website, which will be more accessible to schools and seniors’ facilities to interact with.”