Maia Lo's actions will help put a smile on the face of several cancer patients at Valley Children's Hospital in Madera.
Lo, a teacher at Sequoia High School in Merced, began to teach a cross stitching class this semester. Her 12 students -- freshman and sophomores -- are now in the process of completing the last touches on their cross stitching floral designs, which will be converted into pillows.
The pillows will be delivered to the patients at the hospital by Lo and the students Friday. Lo said the gift will be a special one because it's not something the students bought -- it's something they made. "I think it's going to brighten their day," she said.
According to Lo, the students have worked on the cross stitching floral designs for the past month. "I told them that they've got to finish their pillows or they can't go," she said.
Lo said her class will also will spend the day with the cancer patients. "The kids will love to have visitors," she said. "We are going to play with them, we are going to read with them, and get to know them a little bit."
Not only are the cancer patients going to benefit from this project -- so will the cross stitching students. In return, they will learn more about life, and caring for others, Lo said. "Giving feels so much better than just taking," she said.
Lo, who is Hmong, said cross stitching is a big deal in her culture. She grew up cross stitching since she was a young girl. "It comes naturally to me," she said.
According to her, she still cross stitches at home, which is why she came up with the idea to teach the class. The alternative school was looking to offer more elective options for its students, and Lo thought cross stitching would be a good idea and a way to keep students out of trouble.
The majority of her students are in anger management classes, according to her. Cross stitching, which requires patience, can help people manager their anger.
"It keeps me very entertained, and if I get mad, it keeps me calm," sophomore Mysti Walters said of her cross stitching project. "It keeps me out of trouble."
Walters hopes the pillows will make a difference in the cancer patients' lives.
Sophomore Zachary Marks, 16, who has only been in the class for a few weeks, said he also works on his project at home. He wants to finish it in time to be able to go on a field trip with the rest of his classmates.
He has one thing in particular that he's looking forward to during the visit: "To see the (children's) expression on their face," he said. "I think it will make them happy."
To make a difference in the community begins by giving back.
Reporter Yesenia Amaro can be reached at (209) 388-6507, or firstname.lastname@example.org.