Fourth graders Jordan Fredrick, 9, left, and Meghan Coakley, 9, right, help Jolie Pyles, 9, center, with her loom as part of the Looms of Love service project at Highland Elementary.
Zip chain, hexafish, zigzag. Those words aren’t the names of odd geometric shapes. They are patterns describing looms, the latest bracelet fad, that the children of Highland Elementary School are creating for patients at Toledo Children’s Hospital.
PHOTO GALLERY: Looms of Love
Inside the Sylvania school, a special room marked by pink-colored ribbon and hearts that hang from the door is where children gathered at recess time to make the bracelets for other children at the hospital.
The students, sitting in groups each with their personalized kit that contained a rainbow of bands, talked, shared, and taught one another how to weave together designs using rubber bands and a pick.
“This year, I am teaching them about empathy, and put a lot of focus on the subject this month," school counselor Andrea Hoffman said. "It’s perfect tie in for them to understand it, through service projects such as this.”
She and parent Holly Apgar, who has two students at Highland, chatted one day about the bracelets and helping children, and the project was born, Looms of Love.
Hundreds of woven bracelets are piled together as part of Highland's Looms of Love project.
The children were so excited to make the bracelets, which became a trend in the school world last summer, that they began donating the bracelets before the project began this week. As of Wednesday, the Highland students created more than a 1,100 bracelets to be donated. Mrs. Hoffman estimated there has been 75 percent participation of the 650 students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
In addition to learning the meaning of the word empathy, fourth grader Vivian Johnson, 9, said the project has spurred positive relationship building among classmates.
“In making the bracelets, a lot of people have been helping each other learn how to make them. So it helps others make friends,” she said.
During recess, the children, by choice, come to the designated loom room. On Wednesday afternoon, the energy was high among the students making the bands.
“I think they will feel good when they get these,” Jacob Bitter, 10, said. He and Greg Vaurinek, 9, were creating a triple-single and double-single loom bracelet.
Above their heads, pink-paper hearts hung from the ceiling. Fourth grader Sneha Malshalkar came up with the idea to create hearts in conjunction with the service project theme, Mrs. Hoffman said.
Wearing the loom bracelets was infectious. Mrs. Hoffman was decorated in loom accessories, from rings, bracelets, to necklaces. Principal Paul Gibbs sported a bracelet in the school colors of red, white, and black.
“We hope these will make the kids that receive them smile,” Mrs. Hoffman said.