Naptime for 15 Callaway Hills Elementary preschoolers got a little cozier last month after Jefferson City Academic Center student Gannan Mossor donated fleece blankets to Paula Hotz’s classroom.
Mosser, a junior at JCAC, is in a service class this semester. While working in the Callaway Hills library one day, he wandered into Hotz’s classroom to see if they needed help.
“He noticed we had the saddest blankets,” Hotz said.
The old blankets that she purchased years ago were thin like towels with holes and frayed ends, Hotz said.
At naptime, the students spread out around the room and lie on collapsible cots. The cots are kept in a cool space each day and are often not warm before the students return from lunch.
The blankets were inadequate, and everybody deserves to be warm, Mossor said.
With permission from JCAC staff, Mossor sold ice cream bars for $1 at lunch, raising about $90, he said.
Mossor returned to the class Nov. 14 with plaid and maroon fleece blankets.
Shock and appreciation filled Hotz and the students.
“I didn’t expect anything would come of it,” Hotz said.
Now, the students wrap themselves in the larger blankets around 11:30 a.m. for an hour-long nap every day. The 4- and 5-year-olds sing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” take off their shoes and turn off the lights before closing their eyes.
“This time of year it’s just perfect,” Hotz said. “We went from sad, little blankets to these nice fuzzy ones — all because he saw a need.”
Danika Jarvis-Daniels uses a maroon blanket, which doubled as a superhero cape for her and other students during storytime Tuesday.
Building a personal relationship with the students is important to Mossor, he said. Each student knows his name, and he is working to learn all of theirs.
During his service time twice a week, he talks to the students at lunch and listens to them read.
“I like helping the community,” Mossor said. “I like seeing them happy. I like making them feel happy.”
The students are happy to see Mossor, and he’s glad he wandered into their lives, he said.
“I haven’t missed a service day,” Mossor said. “I go to school early just so I know I’m going to be there. (The students) know when it’s Tuesday and Thursday that I’m coming. I’m going to be there no matter if I have to walk or not, I’m going to get there.”
With the remainder of the money from the ice cream fundraiser, Mossor and JCAC teacher Debbie Cornell began a schoolwide candy cane project.
Students and teachers wrote inspirational notes for patients receiving chemotherapy at Goldschmidt Cancer Center and Jefferson City Medical Group, Cornell said.
“We do service because it’s one of the pillars of JCAC,” Cornell said. “Our three pillars are academics, character and service — and so that’s what we build our school on. … We feel the need to give back.”
Over 300 candy canes and letters were delivered Monday, Cornell said.