Symbols of hope are being transported from some Denton fourth- and fifth-graders to Haitians devastated by the country's recent earthquake.
Through Friday, the students at Ryan Elementary School had decorated 18 donated metal crutches, using permanent markers to create a variety of shapes such as polka dots, lines and stars in bright colors.
People sent money to assist Haitians after the earthquake, Ryan Elementary art teacher Nancy Walkup said, but involving students in a project that decorates crutches for disabled citizens offers them "a real connection to what's happening in Haiti
"The fact that they [crutches] were decorated by elementary students will show the people of Haiti that they [students], in fact, care for them, and hopefully, it will bring some joy and color to their lives. It will be such a surprise when they open the box."
Walkup said she plans to transport the decorated crutches to Burnet, headquarters of the Global Art Initiative's Global Crutch Project, during spring break this week. From Burnet, which is northwest of Austin, the crutches will be sent to Haiti.
"I feel really proud of myself because it's just great to help out other people that are in need of help," Ryan Elementary fourth-grader Christina Paz said. "I'm very happy."
Walkup said she learned about the Global Crutch Project more than six months ago and decided it would be a wonderful effort for her students. In recent months, she said, students have prepared crutches not only for Haitian artists but also for others left disabled by the earthquake. As the need for crutches became greater, she said, the students' efforts gained momentum.
"I just feel that it's great to help out," fourth-grader Nick Curtis said.
Walkup said the school will continue collecting donated crutches to decorate as long as there is a need. People may donate crutches by dropping them off at the school, 201 W. Ryan Road. The school will be closed for spring break this week, but crutches can be dropped off once classes resume March 22.