BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – There are bright smiling faces everywhere you look at Ledgeview Elementary in Clarence. Both in person, and on paper.
The school recently held a coloring party in each classroom, that had the students carefully creating vibrant self portraits using their favorite colors and designs. The students’ masterpieces will one day greet visitors at the new John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital in downtown Buffalo.
The hospital plans to collect drawings from these coloring parties, which all have a fundraising component, and combine them to create a mosaic for the lobby of the new building, set to open in fall 2017.
“We’re working with a local artist, Brian Nesline, Faces of Buffalo,” said Lisa LaTrovato of the Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo Foundation. “We came together, and decided what a wonderful way to introduce children as they come into the new hospital, but smiling faces.”
In order to have their drawings featured in the mosaic, the students did have to follow some rules, but they all paid a lot of attention to detail.
“Making sure that of course you draw your face, but that background is colored in,” LaTrovato explained. “Got to make it as colorful as possible so that when we get that final mosaic, it’s just lively and beautiful and bright.”
The fundraiser is part of the Kiss 98.5’s Schools Care for Kids program. Host Janet Snyder has been dropping into these drawing parties all over Western New York.
“They work off of a picture,” Snyder explained. “Some of them had mirrors today. Some of them were just drawing their own face from their memory. When you ask a child to do that, it’s a really special thing. No matter what grade they’re in, they’re all beautiful, and full of color for sure.”
Malene Comeau, a fifth grader at the school, and her family have supported the hospital ever since she spent the first several weeks of her life in the NICU there.
“I don’t know if she’s ever been to the hospital since then, which we are very grateful for,” said her mother, Siobahn. “We’re very lucky to know it’s here, if it needs to happen again.”
“It’s just going to look really cool when the kids come in and see all the smiling faces,” Malene said as she showed her self portrait, which featured her favorite colors, pink and purple, along with a horse to indicate her love of horseback riding.
By the end of the party, it was clear the message was sticking with her fellow Ledgeview students.
“When they come to the hospital, sometimes they can feel scared,” said second grader Keira Rossi. “I want them to feel welcome and happy when they come.”
To sign your child’s school up for a drawing event to support the John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital, visit www.areyouinit.org.