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Young pupils make 'Worry Dolls' for children at Ronald McDonald House

[Sept. 6, 2020:  JD Shavit, The Brighter Side of News]

In a heartwarming display of compassion and creativity, a group of year 2 pupils from Selwyn House School recently embarked on a mission to spread comfort and joy to children facing health challenges. Their initiative, born from a classroom inquiry on the topic of "Toys Through Time," culminated in the creation of handmade Worry Dolls, which they lovingly gifted to young residents at the Ronald McDonald House.

The young philanthropists, guided by their teacher Tara Hollings, sought to take meaningful action inspired by the theme of their unit of inquiry.


The topic, "Toys Through Time," encouraged the students to reflect on their own favorite toys and what made them special. These cherished possessions were often described as cuddly, soft, and snuggly. However, one poignant question raised by a compassionate young voice changed the course of their inquiry: What if a child didn't have such comforting companions during illness?

It was this empathetic pondering that gave birth to the heartwarming idea of crafting Worry Dolls for children staying at the Ronald McDonald House.


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These dolls, carefully hand-sewn by the girls themselves, came complete with a personalized touch. Each doll was nestled in a gift bag adorned with the name of the young creator and a special message for its intended recipient.

The message tenderly conveyed, "This Worry Doll was made with love and kindness especially for you. So when you’re feeling tired or sick or yucky, tell your Worry Doll and know that someone else in the world is thinking of you and sending you love and aroha."


The initiative was a shining example of children taking the initiative to make a positive impact in their community. Teacher Tara Hollings shared her pride in her students, stating, "The idea was generated by the pupils themselves. We were talking with the pupils about their favorite toy and what made them so special, cuddly, soft, snuggly. And then one little voice piped up wondering how it would feel if you didn’t have that when you were really sick. That is how the idea of the Worry Dolls was created.”

The heartwarming gesture did not stop with the creation of these thoughtful dolls. Ronald McDonald House fundraising manager, Regan De Burgh, visited the school to collect the dolls. As the dolls were gently placed into the car, the pupils made a collective wish for wellness and kindness to befall the children receiving their cherished creations. This symbolic gesture added an extra layer of warmth and meaning to their already touching act of generosity.

Indeed, this project became a labor of love that extended beyond the school walls. Parents and grandparents joined hands with the students, generously offering their time and guidance as they sat alongside the young girls, teaching them the art of sewing.


Tara Hollings reflected on this collaborative effort, stating, “So much creativity and love went into making these dolls from the pupils and from the parents and grandparents who gave their time to sit alongside the girls as they learned to sew. It was lovely to see how proud the pupils were of their finished products, but the most rewarding part was knowing that what they had created was going to help cheer up another child.”

We were talking with the pupils about their favorite toy and what made them so special, cuddly, soft, snuggly. (CREDIT: Ronald McDonald House)

The act of creating and gifting these Worry Dolls not only brought joy to the children who received them but also served as a powerful lesson in empathy and compassion for the young pupils. The project exemplified the idea that even the smallest acts of kindness can have a profound impact on the lives of others.


Furthermore, this heartwarming endeavor underscored the importance of teaching children the value of empathy and community engagement from an early age. By encouraging them to consider the experiences of those less fortunate, such as children battling illness, these young students were able to connect with their own emotions and develop a sense of social responsibility.

Ronald McDonald House fundraising manager Regan De Burgh accepts the Worry Dolls from Selwyn House School year 2 pupil Mia. (CREDIT: Ronald McDonald House)

The Worry Dolls, with their handmade charm and heartfelt messages, have undoubtedly brought comfort and solace to the young residents of Ronald McDonald House. These dolls are not just objects; they are tangible symbols of love, kindness, and the enduring power of human connection.


The act of giving is not always measured in grand gestures or material abundance; sometimes, it is the simplest acts of kindness that leave the most lasting impressions. The year 2 pupils of Selwyn House School, through their selfless creation and gifting of Worry Dolls, have demonstrated the beauty of empathy and the profound impact that small acts of love and generosity can have on the lives of others. In a world that often seems busy and disconnected, these young hearts have shown us the way back to the most essential and meaningful aspects of our shared humanity: compassion, connection, and care for one another.

For more science and technology stories check out our New Innovations section at The Brighter Side of News.


Note: Materials provided above by The Brighter Side of News. Content may be edited for style and length.


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