For many of us, the start of 2022 has been rough, with the resurgence of COVID-19 impacting our health and upending our plans and routines. This is why I decided to focus this month’s blog post on positive things being done in our community and the circle of giving that connects Horizons and Colorado Academy. For our holiday/winter Super Saturday, I like to provide Horizons students with an opportunity to give back to the community. When you give back, you feel like you are making the world a little bit better and therefore build self-confidence in knowing that you are part of something bigger than yourself.

In looking for a project that students could relate to, the Horizons team felt that we should once again make get-well cards for patients in Children’s Hospital Colorado. We had done this in 2019 for our holiday Super Saturday, and it was such a success that we thought it would be a meaningful and impactful opportunity again, especially during a time when there is so much illness everywhere due to COVID-19.

In order to make the project work, we connected with Colorado Academy’s Upper School Children’s Hospital Colorado Club, co-chaired by Junior Dori Beck and Sophomore Sophie Gomez. I had an opportunity to speak with Dori about her experience as a volunteer with Children’s Hospital and being a leader of the club at CA. There are around 70 CA students involved in the Children’s Hospital Colorado Club, and they are an official volunteer chapter of the hospital. Club members do various things requested by the hospital, such as making crafts, writing virtual get-well-soon cards, and a few get to volunteer in person. It turns out that Dori has been a volunteer at the hospital since Seventh Grade and has done a variety of jobs, from working in the ER, to helping nurses relieve parents if they need a break, taking toys to patients, and much more.

When we approached Dori about Horizons students making handmade cards for the Children’s Hospital Colorado patients, she jumped at the opportunity. Later, she let me know how the cards were received: “Being in the hospital over the holidays is not easy, and it can be incredibly isolating, but receiving such a heartfelt card showed each patient that they are not alone and have a community of people supporting them. So thank you to Horizons students for participating in this wonderful project that brought so many smiles and so much happiness to the children at Children’s Hospital Colorado!”

We are hoping to continue this circle of giving by possibly involving Horizons students this summer in more long-term activities for the hospital. We spoke about perhaps being able to take a group of middle school students to do volunteer work at the hospital itself, which would be a wonderful experience. We’ll see what ends up happening with COVID-19, but if not this summer, definitely in the future. Here are Dori’s reflections regarding our partnership: “The collaboration between Children’s Hospital Colorado Club and Horizons is incredibly valuable because it contributes to the social and emotional development of the participants and creates wonderful community connections. We are really looking forward to continuing to develop and expand this partnership!”