A fashion studies project at a Sherwood Park school is being put to good use.
 
The Lakeland Ridge Junior High fashions studies class was introduced to a project at the beginning of the school year by their teacher, Caroline McKay. Each student made two fabric hearts out of flannel called Bonding Hearts. One heart is meant to be given to a newborn baby and one to a parent. After a few days, the hearts are exchanged, so the baby has the parent's scent and the parent has the baby's, even when they aren't in contact.
 
“I feel a connection to this project because I have a little cousin who was born premature,” said Grade 9 student Makenzie Osmond. “My aunt and cousin each received a bonding heart and I saw how important it was to them. Through
this program, we are helping create bonds between a mom and their baby even when they can’t touch each other."
 
The class made 62 bonding hearts over the semester. As students finished other projects, they would often make another set while waiting to do their next project, according to McKay.
 
Depsite the class having come to an end, students like Ainslie Mackenzie have continued to make hearts on their own time. McKay has done the same.
 
"Once we have a collection, we'll donate another bunch," McKay said.
 
While their original plan was to donate to the University of Alberta Hospital or the Royal Alexandra Hospital, Mackenzie has a special connection to the Misericordia Hospital.
 
"My aunt is a nurse in the (neonatal intensive care unit) at the Misericordia Hospital," Mackenzie explained. "I told her about what we were doing in sewing class and that we were making the bonding hearts. She said, "We should start the program at my hospital,' so I asked her if she wanted to have them."
 
McKay plans to turn the project into a yearly tradition in her class.

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