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Bailey's Homemade Books Bring Smiles to Blythedale

VALHALLA, N.Y. – Greenburgh's R.J. Bailey School brought an early Christmas present to children at Valhalla's Blythedale Children's Hospital when they visited Thursday afternoon.

Since September, the Bailey student government worked on creating hand-made activity books filled with crossword puzzles, mazes, coloring pages, how to draw tutorials, a play and connect the dots. Fourth grader Christian Isaac, fifth grader Emily Hung, and sixth grader and student government president Jonathon White gave roughly 75 activity books of 50 pages each to the hospital for their patients to enjoy.

"This is perfect, the kids are going to really love it," Lena Cavanna, Blythedale's head of communications, said to the three students.

"Oh my gosh, I'm really proud," said Claire Cronin, an art teacher at R.J. Bailey. "Our students kept saying, 'Do you think the kids would like this?' They were excited. It's all about exposing kids to other kids."

The students, along with their parents and Cronin, were given a tour of Blythedale's Therapy Village, where the children receive occupational and physical therapy to strengthen their bones. Aside from the in-house children at Blythedale, 180 additional children are bussed in daily to receive therapy. The students were also taken to the hospital's school, which children attend from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day.

"They were very enthusiastic about it," said Belinda Rivera-Isaac, Christian's mother. "They were excited about bringing the activity books. It's so nice to see the kids so excited about helping other people."

In addition, a group of Woodlands Middle School students took a cue from R.J. Bailey and fashioned home-made friendship bracelets for the Blythedale children. In two weeks, they created over 100 bracelets. While they had anticipated joining the R.J. Bailey students' trip to the hospital, they chose to wait until January to give another friendly surprise.

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