PIQUA — One Piqua teacher is living the ‘Awesome Piqua’ dream and bringing the mission of the Piqua chapter of the Awesome Foundation to reality for the first time.
Becky Pottorf, a fourth grade language arts teacher at Piqua Central Intermediate School, recently received the $1,000 cash grant from the Piqua chapter of the Awesome Foundation to bring about “A Heart Filled Holiday” for extended care residents at two of Piqua’s nursing homes.
Awesome Piqua’s mission is to fund projects to make a positive impact in Piqua and promote its awesomeness. The Awesome Foundation grant was used to purchase the materials necessary to make the fleece blankets which will be given to selected residents of Piqua Manor and Brookdale in December.
This past week, that project has been under way, bringing together students at Piqua Central Intermediate and Piqua Junior High schools.
“I thought what a great opportunity to offer and extend my time to the community to make blankets for the residents of a nursing home,” Pottorf said.
Pottorf reached out to the event coordinators at Piqua Manor and Brookdale to get a quote on how many blankets she could make for residents who were in need, might not have family in the area, and who were veterans or retired police officers. Pottorf submitted her application with the number of approximately 45 blankets and the need of reaching out to those residents in the holiday season, and she was awarded the grant.
Pottorf then brought together various students, asking teachers to reach out some of the students they thought were trustworthy to stay after school and who would understand what it is they are contributing. Pottorf had a couple of big group sessions of creating the blankets, with a junior high student cutting the fabric and fourth graders tying the blankets together.
“I had a conversation with them about what we’re doing here and how important it is to reach out to those that are less fortunate than us, especially during the holiday season,” Pottorf said.
“Our teachers picked us,” Hannah Palmer, 10, said. “Because we’re respectful and kind.”
When asked why they chose to be respectful and kind, Palmer and Natalia Garcia, 10, each said that it came to them naturally.
“It’s easy to do,” Garcia said.
“It sounded pretty interesting and fun,” Chloe Rexroth, 10, said about the Awesome Piqua project. Rexroth said that her favorite part of the project so far was the partnership of working with others on the blankets.
“I thought it sounded kind of fun, too, and I thought it sounded kind of nice to give to the nursing home,” Baylee Crue, 10, said. Emily Brown, 9, agreed.
“I said, ‘Sure, I’ll help,’ because it was for a good cause,” Katelyn Hall, 9, said. Hall said that this was a good project because it gives people in nursing homes something that they would appreciate and use. She hopes that it will also make the receipients of the blankets happy.
“They know that some kids appreciate them,” Hall said.
“I just like giving,” Gracelynn Neil, 9, said, adding that she also enjoyed getting to stay after school to work on the project. “I thought this would be neat experience because I like to try new things.”
“I just really like to bring things to people who need things,” Josslyn Freistuhler, 10, said. “I like helping.”
Pottorf has also been watching the impact that making a difference has had on the students.
“They love it,” Pottorf said. “Sometimes when they’re nine, 10 years old, for them to see that they can make a difference in the community, I think is important, and I’ve seen that with some of these kiddos.”
Overall, Pottorf is looking forward to seeing the students connect with the recipients of the blankets when they give them to the nursing home residents in December.
“To see these kiddos go into the nursing home and have that interaction with our seniors, a lot of times that doesn’t happen, so to give these kiddos the chance to be able to go into a nursing home during the holiday season, it’s going to make a huge difference for those residents,” Pottorf said. “I think it’s going to make a difference both for these guys and for the residents.”
Reach Sam Wildow at [email protected] or (937) 451-3336