Linus Project: Chardon High School students give back

9:32 AM, Nov 8, 2012   |    comments
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CHARDON -- It's been more than 8 months since the Chardon community was forever changed by a school shooting that killed three students, and wounded several others.

But out of that tragedy came strength and solidarity.

The local chapter of the nationwide charity Project Linus gathered thousands of homemade blankets to give the students of Chardon High School.

Those blankets were meant to literally wrap these students up, giving them comfort and making them feel safe and loved.

Those blankets inspired the very students who needed them to turn around and help others in need.

They created their own school chapter of Project Linus.

Rory Hougan, is a student who joined.

"It's a warm feeling... to feel loved and cared for, and that's really what I hope for the person who received my blanket," says Chardon High School student Rory Hougan. 

So far, dozens of Chardon High School students have volunteered to make blankets for kids in need.

To date, they've made dozens of blankets.

"It's great to be able to make something and know that you're going to bring somebody joy," said Emily Postello.

It was rough! It was surreal," Postello said of the shooting on Feb. 27, 2012.

"We were all affected by what happened," Hougan added. 

Mary Ellen Bramwell, who heads the local chapter of Project Linus, the nationwide charity that makes and distributes blankets to children in need, wanted to help.

Within days, she gathered more than 1,000 blankets to give to the students at Chardon High. She never imagined the response.

"We took up blankets on Friday and the following Tuesday, I got an email from a group of students and a teacher who wanted to be involved in making blankets for others," Bramwell recalled. "They said how much the blankets meant to them and they just really wanted to be involved in helping others."

Postello remembers the day the blankets arrived.

"I really believe the day we got the blankets was the first time many of us really smiled," she said.

She remembers making a fort out of them and hiding underneath with a group of friends.

Cole Kornell proudly admits he still sleeps with his.

"It was a red blanket, because red is my favorite color, and the outside edge is rainbow and it reminds me of one of my older blankets when I was younger, but just getting that blanket --you felt that security," he said. 

Every Tuesday, this group meets after school to measure, cut and make these blankets.

"I'm more of the guy... if you need something to be cut, it's me. I can't knit everything, I can't... all of that, but if you want something cut, you call me over," Kornell joked of his role making the blankets.

It's nice to see the smiles and hear the jokes after such a difficult time.

Each blanket more than just fabric.

Truly a message of hope, of love, of inspiration.

"I think I take away that there's really good out there and that this rising generation of children -- that there's strength in them," Bramwell said. 


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