Colors for Causes puts smiles on faces

| Thursday, June 5, 2014, 5:50 p.m.

Little bodies can possess big hearts, as is the case with the students of the Fort Allen Elementary School in the Hempfield Area School District who recently pitched in to help people in the area with cancer or dealing with the disease to feel a little better.

Fifth-grade students Aubrey Krunszyinsky, 11, and Julialyn Dornin, 11, decided to combine their love of making loom bracelets and their desire to help others into a project that they called “Colors for Causes.”

“Some of the kids at the school made the bracelets before for veterans and called it ‘Loops for Troops,'” Julialyn said. “We wanted to do something like that but give the bracelets to cancer patients and doctors and nurses.”

Since there are different colors that represent different types of cancer, the girls decided to make the bracelets in a variety of colors and went to their fellow students for help with the project.

“We got permission to make an announcement to ask the students to help,” Julialyn said. “We only got a couple at first. Then we came up with the idea to announce that if they made five or more and gave us their name and their homeroom that we would announce their names. Everyone wants to hear their names announced, so we ended up getting hundreds of them.”

The students began their project a few months ago and were thrilled with the number of bracelets that they collected.

“The whole school pitched in. It was great,” Aubrey said.

School principal Marty Rovedatti-Jackson said that she was touched by the kindness of the students.

“I was approached by Julialyn and Aubrey about the project,” Rovedatti-Jackson said. “They created announcements for the school. We had such a wonderful response from the students. Every day we had students dropping off bracelets. I am so proud of the girls for thinking of others.”

Once completed and collected, the girls then took all of the bracelets to places such as the Arnold Palmer Cancer Center, the Relay for Life and Hempfield Manor.

“We put them out in baskets for people to take and said that a smile on their face was our payment,” Aubrey said. “These people are all an inspiration to us, and we just wanted them to know that they were appreciated and that they were inspiring to others.”

The two classmates, good friends for years, plan to continue to make the bracelets throughout the summer and hope to possibly sell them to generate money for a nonprofit group yet to be determined.

“Aubrey just loves doing this kind of stuff, and she loves to volunteer,” said her mother, Theresa Krunszyinsky. “They wanted to get the whole school involved and they pulled together and ended up with hundreds. It was pretty amazing.”

Michelle Dornin, Julialyn's mother and a 13-year cancer survivor, said that she is proud of what the girls did to orchestrate such an impressive project, one that will touch many with its kindness and thoughtfulness.

“I think that it's wonderful that they did this,” said Dornin, adding that the staff from the facilities where the bracelets were taken were ecstatic. “They were just overcome with joy and thanked the girls for what they did. They really have big hearts for 11-year-olds.”

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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