Bemis students blanket the community

The weather is getting chilly, but hearts are warm and hands are busy at Bemis Junior High in the Life Skills classes. 

Eighth graders in Casey Finkbeiner and Julie McCormick's Life Skills classes made 160 no-sew fleece blankets in November. Blankets were bagged and collected by the charity Project Linus, and will be delivered to DMC Children's Hospital to be selected by parents and young patients to give comfort and warmth. 

Bemis students have been participating in this charity for a number of years, and have donated over 1,000 blankets to Project Linus, whose name was chosen in honor of Charles Shulz's blanket-toting character.

The service makes an obvious connection to their study of family challenges in class.
This year, Finkbeiner added another step to the project that will benefit shelter animals: the scrap pieces cut from the fleece in the process of making blankets were used to make tug toys for dogs and "kitty bugs" for cats. 

"I hated to see all the wasted material go in the trash, so I brainstormed with the kids and came up with a useful project," she said. 

Kids worked on the long fleece strips to braid into dog toys, or small strips to tie in knots. Students even got to volunteer to make deliveries to the Michigan Anti-Cruelty Society set up in Utica Petsmart.

When they weren't busy planning blankets, students in Life Skills were also collecting books for lower elementary readers, used toys for Salvation Army, and new toys for SNOWPILE in conjunction with their study of child development. 

Students made Christmas cards for soldiers, veterans, and senior citizens, as well as decorated brown paper bags for The Basket Project charity to round out their long list of service projects.

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