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Positively LEX 18: Paintsville fifth-graders bring comfort to hospital patients

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Posted at 1:11 PM, Mar 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-18 18:13:18-04

PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (LEX 18) — A group of fifth-graders at Paintsville Elementary are proving there is no age requirement on doing good. After a personal experience with being hospitalized during the COVID-19 pandemic, the elementary students are brightening up the lives of patients during a time of isolation.

Seven months ago, Josie Ward was battling a very serious health issue.

"Back in August I had a seizure, and I didn't really have anything to do," Ward, a fifth-grader, explained.

Ward was in the hospital's ICU. It was a scary time but also lonely due to COVID-19 restrictions.

"I didn't really have anything I can do, and because of COVID I couldn't see anyone," Ward said.

Once out of the hospital, she and her fellow members of the Paintsville Elementary Community Problem Solving Team, Ava King, Anna Sexton and Olivia Sorrell, decided this was a problem they wanted to solve.

"We knew the hospital was working really hard and patients were there alone, so they really wanted to make sure they took care of that and let people know that they cared," their coach Brittany Hicks said.

The girls came up with the idea to create care packages to deliver to patients of all ages at their local hospital.

Ward showed off the packages saying, "It comes with a message from our team, a coloring book, an activity book, we have a stress ball, two sharpened pencils and a pack of crayons."

Since November, they have delivered over 160 packages to Paul B. Hall Regional Medical Center in Paintsville. Due to COVID-19, they have not been able to go inside, but they have received letters from thankful recipients.

Nurse Kelly McGuire has also been able to see their effect first-hand.

"It helps them mentally and emotionally, and we all know that helps you recover even faster. Just walking by after we deliver some of these packages, it's just awesome to see patients smiling," she said.

From virtual school to weather and fundraising, the team has had its share of problems to solve, but they have overcome it all. They even met with their state senator who is now sharing their work with others around Kentucky.

"Seeing them face the challenges, come up with solutions and execute those, you know their hearts are so big," Hicks said.

The team is proving they may be small, but they are mighty and have a lot to give.

"Don't underestimate kids because we're doing it right now, and we are making a difference in our community," Ward said.

The team has an Amazon Wishlist for the items needed in the care packages. They said if they have the supplies, they will continue delivering them.