Community, Features

Cards for Hospitalized Kids initiative connects BU students with children across the country

Cards for Hospitalized Kids
The Cards for Hospitalized Kids drop-off box in Towers residence. The community engagement initiative enables Boston University students to send handmade cards to hospitalized children across the country. TALIA LISSAUER/DFP STAFF

Calling all Boston University students — it’s time to take a study break and give back.

The Cards for Hospitalized Kids community engagement initiative at BU allows students to send handmade cards to hospitalized children across the country.

Liliane Duséwoir, a faculty in residence of Upper Bay State Road and a senior lecturer in the College of Arts and Sciences, will be in the Franklin Lounge in Towers on May 4 from 7 to 9 p.m. to host a “Cards for Hospitalized Kids meet up,” she wrote in an email.

Duséwoir brought Cards for Hospitalized Kids to BU this semester and wants to collect 2,000 cards to correspond to the 2,000 students living on UBSR. The activity is “a little study break” with a little something extra, she said.

“It’s so refreshing,” Duséwoir said. “Not only are you doing something with your hands, that’s entirely different, but you’re also emotionally connecting with something that’s much higher than you.”

Any interested students can sign out the supplies to make cards by asking the Residence Life Office for the Cards for Hospitalized Kids box in either Towers or 575 Commonwealth Ave, known as “HoJo.” Instructions and guidelines for what can be written in the cards are included with the box.

Card collection began in February, with kickoff events held in “HoJo” and the Franklin Lounge in Towers, Paul Hughes, assistant director of Residence Life for UBSR, said. That event brought in approximately 200 cards, according to Duséwoir.

“It was a really wonderful kind of pilot to kind of see what worked,” Hughes said.

Duséwoir said she started Cards for Hospitalized Kids at BU after the pandemic ended her other community engagement projects.

“I decided to think about activities that could be an opportunity for students to get together, to relax and to chat and to do something meaningful at the same time,” Duséwoir said.

Hughes and Duséwoir chose the Cards for Hospitalized Kids initiative because Hughes said it “struck a chord” with the pair.

Tejasva Agarwal, the vice president of the UBSR Residence Hall Council and a junior in the College of Engineering, is “looking forward” to making more cards during the study break to “destress” as finals week approaches. As an RA at “HoJo,” he said he advertised the initial kickoff event to his residents, some of whom attended and made cards with him.

“I think it was just a good community like feeling, that we were doing something for the betterment of the community,” Agarwal said.

Agarwal said he made three cards and chose to write messages of gratitude for being able to connect with the kids, even though they will never meet in person.

“I just felt a good feeling … just to let them know that I’m here and I’m thinking about them,” Agarwal said.

Isaac Carrasco-Ortiz, UBSR resident and a junior in CAS, wrote happy messages and printed out photographs of his dog to glue to the cards, he said.

“It felt like a good way to … put a little bit of my heart into a card so that somebody else will be able to be happier,” Carrasco-Ortiz said.

Making cards for hospitalized children is what Duséwoir called a “double gift.”

“It just gives everybody so much perspective and humility, and just brightens your own onlook,” Duséwoir said.

The activity also provides an opportunity to make friends, she said.

“You’re suddenly around other people who are doing the same as you,” Duséwoir said. “You get to chat and then maybe you get to chat with somebody who shares something, or who sees the world differently from you, or who may become your best friend. Who knows?”

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