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Olentangy Local School District students make blankets for hospital patients

The students got together through video chat to make hand-tied blankets for hospital patients.

A group of Olentangy Local School District students got together through video chat to make hand-tied blankets for hospital patients at Soin Medical Center in Beavercreek.

The eighth-grade students are part of an online program – just for this year – called Olentangy Committed Distance Learning (CDL).

This "blanket club" was started by social studies teacher Amy Koons. Fellow teacher Jennifer Ebersole said many students are struggling through the pandemic as much as everyone else. Koons and Ebersole, who teach the same students, want to ensure they're focusing on the kids' social skills and mental health while helping them in both areas.

Through this blanket project, the end goal was to donate the blankets to people whom the students felt would really appreciate or need them.

Here's where it hits close to home for Ebersole. Her mother, who had been battling cancer, got COVID-19 back in March. During her stay at Soin Medical Center, she received a blanket from a young man who goes to school in Dayton.

"It was like two worlds collided, and it was incredible," Ebersole said.

Ebersole explained to her students, after her mom got out recently, that the little gesture meant the world to her.

The students decided that's where they were going to donate the blankets – all 20 of them. Ebersole and her mother, Portia, personally brought the blankets to the hospital with Ebersole's son and daughter.

"To have my mom make it out and to be healthy again was already emotional, and then to have her be a part of my other life as a teacher and have my students show her how much her story meant to them, you know, it was incredible," Ebersole said.

She said, as a teacher, it's a special feeling to watch students grow not only academically but personally.

"We teach them academics and, you know, a lot of that character education. We try as good teachers ... to tell our kids of the bigger picture and the impact on the world that they can make, and they don't see these little things that make a huge difference," Ebersole said.

Portia, according to her daughter, got in contact with the young man who made her blanket and told him how he started a ripple effect of kindness.