Little Hands with Big Hearts Say ‘Thank You’ to NYGH Health Care Staff

Little Hands with Big Hearts Say ‘Thank You’ to NYGH Health Care Staff

Bring a classroom full of imaginative, creative students together with a teacher eager to pass on valuable life lessons, and you have the makings of something magical.

That’s exactly what happened recently when Sandy Whyte, a Grade 1/2 teacher at St. Kateri Tekakwitha Catholic School, decided to bring classroom learning to life for her students in a real and memorable way. Since the Grade 1 curriculum includes a segment entitled People & their Environments/The Local Community, Sandy thought there was an opportunity to take the lessons beyond the four walls of the school, connecting directly to the North York community. She thought by doing so, the children would have a greater understanding and appreciation of the many community helpers in the area.

Honouring the care, compassion, and sacrifices of health care workers

Armed with enthusiasm and an open mind, Sandy presented the project to the children and asked for their input. Together, they settled on health care workers at North York General Hospital (NYGH) as the focus of their work. The students gained insight into the various roles at the hospital and what they were responsible for.

They learned about the work of nurses, doctors, paramedics, and others who help people when they are sick or injured, when babies are born or when people pass away. Since the students had been directly affected by the pandemic, with lockdowns and at-home, online learning, they understood clearly what an impact it had on health care workers as well. They gained deeper appreciation for the long hours, stress and sacrifices these staff members endured. The central theme was that health care workers make a difference every single day because they put others first and care for them with compassion and kindness.

Heartfelt messages and artwork delivered to NYGH

Armed with their new understanding, Sandy and her students then began to work on saying ‘thank you’ in a real and practical way. Students wrote letters and drew pictures, all to capture their gratitude for the work of NYGH staff. The heartfelt messages and artwork were collected and put into a scrapbook to be presented to NYGH.

Six-year-old students Cristian and Ava proudly represented their class and came to NYGH to present the scrapbook to Terry Pursell, President & CEO, North York General Foundation, Dr. Everton Gooden, Chief of Otolaryngology, and Dr. Abheha Satkunaratnam, Chief of Obstetrics/Gynecology. Overwhelmed with the thoughtfulness and creativity of the students, they sat down to look through every page of the scrapbook, chatted with the students at length and took photos with the students and their proud teachers.

A collective effort that went beyond expectations

Sandy says the work of her students and the welcoming way it was received at NYGH was beyond all her expectations. Her students were given real-world understanding of community helpers and were able to express their gratitude. The kindness shown by NYGH in return was the icing on the cake.

Here’s to Sandy and her amazing students who’ve shown that through understanding comes appreciation. Thank you to every one of you for your efforts to build a stronger, more connected community here in North York.