Published Thursday, December 21, 2000
Christmas cards help terminally ill children
By Theresa Harrington
Third-graders at Bancroft Elementary School in Walnut Creek
recently learned how to work together to accomplish a goal.
As part of the state's new third-grade social studies
curriculum, the students formed a make-believe company called
"Helping 2000." They created about 5,500 Christmas
cards, sold them, and donated their profits to an organization
called "Comfort for Kids," which helps children with
Students brought home sales packets with samples of four card
designs: a mitten, snowflake, Christmas tree and gingerbread
Between Nov. 20 and Dec. 15, children in all five of the
school's third-grade classes worked folding, cutting, gluing,
assembling and packaging the cards.
Teachers Jane Voll, Toni Wolfe, Betsy Haberman, Peggy Grunert
and Susan Spalding used the project to educate children about
how businesses operate, from making a product to distributing
it. Concepts such as managing supply and demand and quality
control were also explored.
"We inspected the cards each night," said Voll.
"I'm donating the usable rejects to a convalescent
Morgan Owen, 8, said she liked learning how a store works.
"We all got to do different things," she said,
"but we all folded cards and glued the stuff on."
Nelson Graphics provided 5,500 envelopes at cost. Most of the
supplies, such as construction paper and a die-cut machine, were
provided by the school. Students sold the cards in sets of four
for $1 a set.
The classes created a ledger, counted the money collected and
deducted the expenses. Then, on Dec. 15, they presented
representatives from Comfort for Kids with a check for $1,072.
The children had been given a choice of three charities, said
Voll, but they overwhelmingly chose Comfort for Kids after
hearing that a former Bancroft student, Christina Bernardy, was
being helped by the organization.
"They wanted to help other kids," said Voll.
Christina, who also attended Oak Grove Middle School in
Concord, died of liver cancer Nov. 11. She was 13.
Many Bancroft Elementary School teachers attended her
"It was an excellent school with very caring
teachers," said Pedro Bernardy, Christina's father.
"They thought a lot of Christina."
Bernardy said the Comfort for Kids organization helped treat
Christina at home and assisted the family and medical staff when
she went to the hospital. The organization also provided hospice
care for Christina and her family.
"We paid nothing at all to the Comfort for Kids
folks," said Bernardy. "Their primary compensation
comes from donations."
He commended the Bancroft students for their hard work and
their donation in Christina's memory.
"It was an excellent thought and very much
appreciated," he said.
For more information about Comfort for Kids, call