Sheltered Diaries: Chalk and Heart

If you’re like me, you’re probably trying to think of ways your family can safely contribute and help during the pandemic – whether it be supporting a local nonprofit through donations, or by actually participating in an activity.

It’s tough – especially if you have younger kids – to find safe ways to do this that are also meaningful. I know we’ve struggled at times to find ways to be helpers, for sure.

But this week, two things came across my desk that I have been dying to share – one happens tonight, and can be done while wearing pajamas.

The fourth graders at Wesley Prep and the kindergarten, first, and second graders of Heart House have been working together all year, but after the pandemic shut things down, they came up with a really sweet way to entertain and also benefit Heart House, which works with children of refugees.

Common Ground 4.0 from Lori Cousino on Vimeo.

Tonight at 7 p.m., the fourth graders and their new friends at Heart House will be reading a book they’ve been working on together – Heart Words, an alphabet book filled with messages of hope.

“It is whimsical and childlike, and disarmingly profound,” the email alerting me to the event said. “The illustrations are bright and inviting. This is a story for all of us and especially appropriate for this momentous time in our history.”

For months, the group of students played, brainstormed, drafted, planned, wrote, and illustrated the book.

The young authors will be reading the book aloud in a special Zoom event, and you can register here. Want to purchase a copy of your own? Click here.

Want to do a little more? Hockaday student Stella Wrubel (who was the mastermind behind Jingle Bell Mistletoe, which raised money for the North Texas Food Bank) is at it again with Chalk4Change.

The premise is simple, but fun – challenge friends, family, and neighbors donate to the North Texas Food Bank, and when they do, you go decorate their driveway with chalk art – all while social distancing.

So far, the Chalk4Change Go Fund Me has raised nearly $8,500 (and fed 21,336 Texans) in just a few short weeks, with 100% of donations going directly to the North Texas Food Bank.

“We hope Chalk4Change will not only help those in need, but will also brighten our community – one driveway at a time,” Stella said.

Stay tuned for our June issue, by the way – we have a great story about the collaboration between Heart House and Wesley Prep.

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, deputy editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at [email protected].

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