By BOB COUPLAND
WARREN - Students at the Hope Academy for Autism have made a special quilt and eight pillowcases for children at Akron Children's Hospital.
Intervention specialist Allison Smith said the 14 students in her lifeskills program at the school each contributed four-inch sewn squares for a large multi-colored quilt.
"It took us a couple of months to complete. We also made pillowcases for children with cancer who are in the hospital," said Smith, who coordinated the project through ConKerr Cancer pillows.
She said the special pillowcases bring smiles to children with life-threatening illnesses. Thousands of volunteers around the world are joining together to brighten the lives of these children with the simple act of making a pillowcase.
Smith said this is the first year they have made the pillowcases and quilt. In 2013, the students made blankets for nursing home residents.
Smith, a quilter, said she went to the Domestic Quilt Store in Warren and they donated squares for her to use in her class. Another fabric store donated the material for the pillowcases.
"This was a way for the children to learn about giving back. In the class they have been learning about social skills and life skills,'" she said.
Smith said sewing machines were also donated for the effort.
Devon Flanagan, a student, said he likes working with classmates and having fun working on the projects.
"Students worked on the project a little every day with both male and female students helping," Smith said.
Pastor Anne Snider, a director at the school, said the students made a special pillowcase for a 9-year-old girl who attends Shiloh Full Gospel Church in Girard and is battling cancer.
"The students all made cards for her," she said.
Smith said what made the project fun is that the students split up duties including sewing, ironing and sorting the squares.
"Everyone had a different job and cooperated," she said.
Smith said the students learned to make a difference and help those with cancer.
"The students learned how to measure and others skills from different subjects," she said.
Smith said while the project took several months, it was well worth the reward to help others.