NCA students donate blankets

Eight New Century Academy students hold up tie blankets they made and donated to the Lutheran Social Service Wright County Crisis Nursery. The students are Jason Williams, Hugh Hudson, Joey Brummer, Mikayla Wilson, Elias Collette and Riely Sullivan.

Small gestures can often make a big difference in someone’s life. That’s a lesson eight New Century Academy students learned this past week.

The students of Annita Wiehr’s class were looking to take on a small community service project. After discussing several options, the students decided to make tie blankets and donate them to a worthy cause. That cause ended up being the Lutheran Social Service Crisis Nursery of Wright County, which was something else the students had learned about in another lesson.

“I had brought up crisis nurseries because we had talked about backgrounds of different families and situations,” Wiehr said, “and to be aware that there are situations that occur like that in life that people don’t plan on, and there are safe options to take your kids to.”

The Wright County Crisis Nursery is a 24-hour, seven-days a week service available to families who need a safe home to place their children in temporarily. Unlike child protection services, the family remains in control. They choose to place their child or children, and when the placement ends.

“Say we have a family in labor, there’s no other support system, we can place (their) other child so mom can go into the hospital safely and have a baby,” said Conni Orth, the crisis nursery program manager. “So a lot of times we’re that option if there is no support system.”

Orth said the crisis nursery often ends up placing children for up to 72 hours, which means overnight. And while the placements are temporary, for a young child, that can be difficult. That’s where the blankets come in.

“Those blankets will be used for that transition from mom or dad to the provider,” Orth said. “We give a blanket and/or a toy, and it just makes the trauma so much less for that family and child. That’s what we utilize the blankets for, for those transitions.”

And while the blankets are meant to comfort the children receiving them, they're also special in a personal way for the NCA students who made them.

“I’ve actually (made tie blankets) before, many times in my own house,” said Riely Sullivan. “I helped out with three blankets.”

“It makes me feel better because I was adopted,” said Mikayla Wilson, another NCA student, “and knowing they’re going to foster homes or kids is really nice.”