AKRON, Ind. (WNDU) - Sometimes, it is the smallest of gestures that pull at the heartstrings, and for children who spend much of their time in the hospital, a little bit of love can go a long way.
Students at Tippecanoe Valley High School are changing lives one blanket at a time.
The project is called 'Covered by Love' and was created for the children at Riley Hospital in Indianapolis.
Solely through donations, students purchased materials to hand-make blankets that will be delivered in-person. Making a child's hospital stay a touch more comfortable.
Three Tippecanoe Valley High School juniors came up with the idea for their Kosciusko County Youth Leadership project.
McKenzie, Olivia and Susan.
"We all have a passion for kids and for nursing," said McKenzie Murphy, a junior at TVHS who started 'Covered by Love.'
"So we came to the idea of doing something for a children's hospital," said Olivia Trippiedi, also a junior at TVHS who started 'Covered by Love.'
They presented the idea to Mrs. Trippiedi, a math teacher and also Olivia's mom.
"If you look around at these kids, they didn't hesitate one bit. They wanted to come in. They wanted to help. To have this leadership and these kids that want to go out and do this is amazing," said Alissa Trippiedi, TVHS math teacher and student resource sponsor.
Once a week, Tippecanoe Valley Vikings participate in Student Resource Time or SRT.
For this group of students, it is an hour and a half that they use to give back.
"A lot of the time the kids that are in the hospital get stuffed animals, things like that, but blankets are something that you cannot really grow out of. So, it's something to hang on to," said Murphy.
The girls also designed patches. Hand-sewn onto each blanket, it reads: Covered by Love, First Corinthians 16:14.
"I wasn't really thinking how much it would mean to me until we got started," said Olivia Trippiedi.
"For me as a teacher, I love seeing this. Just to give them the opportunity to do something that they're passionate about is great. And great that they have that chance to do that here at school because otherwise, sometimes some of them won't get the chance at all to do this," said Mrs. Trippiedi.
So far about 25 blankets have been made, with love, for children at Riley Hospital.
"There are people out there who care for them even if they are in a bad place, but there's someone who loves them, and this is just a little reminder of that. That they are covered by love, and they will always be covered by love," said Susan Nickerson, a junior at TVHS who started 'Covered by Love.'
The program will continue for eight more weeks. The girls say that as long as they continue to receive donations, they'll keep making blankets.
If you'd like to help their cause by donating, simply call Tippecanoe Valley High School at 574-598-2100 and ask for Alissa Trippiedi. You may also email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Olivia says during a rival basketball game recently, one of the opposing players had heard about the project, found Olivia, and gave her a $100-dollar bill for the cause. Each blanket costs $10 dollars to make, so that means ten more blankets for children who could really use some extra comfort.
The students who started 'Covered by Love' will be setting a date in the near future to deliver the blankets to Riley Hospital for Children.