HAMMOND -- Every other Friday at St. Croix Central Middle School features a change to the daily schedule that allows for 50 minutes of “club time” toward the end of the school day. During that time, staff create various single day activities or ongoing clubs open to student participation.

“Jane Kerber, our middle school library paraprofessional, thought having a club that positively impacted the community would be a great option. She brought the idea to me and asked if I would like to help, and I was happy to join the effort. That is how Community Club got started,” said Community Club adviser Mandie Langman.

According to Langman, Community Club’s purpose is to engage middle school students with the community by sharing their skills and giving of their time. The Community Club -- which met for the first time Oct. 4 and averages 15 students every meeting -- is currently creating tie-blankets for children and adults, which Langman hopes will bring comfort to those who are experiencing some of the most difficult moments of their lives.

St. Croix Central Middle School fifth graders Ella Janski and Cadence Tudell tie dream catcher tblanket as part of the school’s Community Club. Submitted photo
St. Croix Central Middle School fifth graders Ella Janski and Cadence Tudell tie dream catcher tblanket as part of the school’s Community Club. Submitted photo

“Mrs. Kerber and I have both battled medical challenges that have required IV treatments, often taking five or more hours for one dose. During one of her treatments, Mrs. Kerber received a tie-blanket that had been made by students, and it was a great comfort to her. We hope to bring more comfort to more patients as they fight their battles,” Langman said. “Some of our club members have experienced stays in hospitals, including Gillette Children’s Hospital. They understand how difficult it can be to spend long periods of time there, and they wanted to help those children who are not able to go home.”

The students themselves also recognize the importance of having support during tough times in their lives, which is one reason they enjoy creating the tie-blankets.

“I love making tie-blankets. I spent time at Gillett’s so it made me happy that these are going there,” said sixth grade club member Myah Bihner. “The amount of time it takes to make a blanket depends how many people are making it. One person takes a few days. But two people it’s much faster. It’s calming to make the blankets and it’s for a good cause.”

For fifth grade club member Cadence Trudell, joining the Community Club was a way to hang out with her friends and have fun while also giving back to the community.

SCC MS sixth grader Myah Bihner made a tie-blanket using fabric featuring cartoon succulents during Community Club. Submitted photo
SCC MS sixth grader Myah Bihner made a tie-blanket using fabric featuring cartoon succulents during Community Club. Submitted photo

“My friends told me about it and I thought it would be fun. It’s not fair for some kids to go through hard stuff and some to not,” said fifth grade club member Cadence Trudell. “I think it’s fun and relaxing because we’re not rushed and get to talk with friends. I feel really good because I get to help out.”

Langman said if the need for the blankets is met, the group will look for other projects.

“SCC Middle School students are incredible, and we are so proud of all they do each day to bring happiness to the world. They see beyond our school walls, and -- more importantly -- they see beyond themselves,” Langman said.