My mom and I traveled together to Children's Memorial Hospital yesterday morning to create Valentine's Day cards with the kids. I was a little nervous about how the day would go down, because I planned this event all on my own rather than simply attending something that had been requested of me. I wasn't sure how many kids would be there, what we would be able to do together, or how they would enjoy their time best. I brought a few boxes worth of various art supplies that I was able to collect, as well as a couple games for us to play together. Although we didn't make it to the games, I think the Valentine's Day Cards were a lot of fun -- the young kids really had a good time with stickers and glue and glitter!
The idea to go to the hospital came to mind because I am trying so very hard to get more creativity into children. I feel strongly that children are lacking creativity and imagination ... at least compared to what it was like when I was a child. I also feel that being able to focus on something, particularly something like making hand-made art, can help to take your mind off of the rest of the world, even if only for a moment. It can help to get the bad stuff away, and possibly relieve stress and worry. And just for that moment, I think I helped the kids to smile, to care about their imaginations and their creativity, and to have fun. :)
Being at the hospital was one of the most rewarding experiences I have had as Miss Illinois USA thus far in 2010. One of the young girls, Sarah, made a card for me with the most perfect poem (written right on the spot!) about having a heart. It is so precious and I'll cherish it always. Its moments like this that make me so happy to be Miss Illinois USA!!
Until next time ... smile! And for those of you in Chicago, get your snow shovels ready ... it's coming!!