A host of colourful characters and fairytale princesses brought a smile to young faces at St Luke’s Hospital recently, when they called in with a smile, plenty of chat, and good wishes.
The event was part of ‘Random Acts of Kindness Week’ — an initiative embraced by the ‘Kare Bear Youth Volunteer Project’, which runs in the local hospital. Each Friday morning, Transition Year students from Colaiste Pobail Osraí give back to their community by volunteering in the Paediatric Ward, where they play games, do arts and crafts and storytelling with the young children.
Other students visit the elderly patients in Medical 1 and 2, where they chat and play cards with them. The students are supervised by Jacinta and Rebecca from Ossory Youth.
The Kare Bears also ran two storytelling workshops in Kilkenny City Library, where students from the Mother of Fair Love School and members of the public enjoyed a storytelling session. There was story time also for the Junior Infants from St John’s Junior School.
After the library, the princesses, Elmo, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Minions, Red Riding Hood and Poppy did a tour of St Luke’s, where they brought that feel good factor to both patients and staff.
The group even paid a visit to the Maternity Ward to pose for pictures with a one-day-old baby called Grace. She will no doubt will be delighted to find out in years to come that the princesses came to see her. Such was the excitement, some of the doctors were offering to dress up.
The Kare Bears then took a trip up and down Kilkenny’s High Street with chocolates and thank-you cards into the staff working in the charity shops. They posed for pictures with the public, and were a surprise addition for the tourists.
The group also dropped in to see Mark and crew in Marble City Barbers, as they have done for the last three years. Elmo made sure to get his annual haircut.
The last stop was a sneak visit into Colaiste Pobail Osraí, while they also called into Teac Tom.
Jacinta Purcell from Ossory Youth says that initiatives such as this are very useful for youth mental health, and should happen more often.
“The students loved all the positivity around such simple acts of kindness,” she says.
“One student said to me that it was the best day of her life, and as the students were heading off to Barcelona on a school trip on Saturday morning, another Kare Bear announced that Barcelona wouldnt be able to top the happiness of being part of Random Acts of Kindness.”