The art of origami starts with a flat square of paper. Then, with careful intention, a series of folds begin to tell a story. When finished, there is something beautiful in the palm of your hand. Something like a crane.
Kateri Jarvis and Hannah Kim hope classmates will help them make hundreds of origami cranes to give to Hospice of the Chesapeake patients. Inspired by the Wishing Crane Project, a nonprofit organization started by high schoolers in Arizona, the Severna Park High School juniors worked through the summer to start a chapter at their school.
Jarvis said that in Japanese culture, cranes symbolize power, strength and good fortune. “By gifting origami cranes with positive, uplifting messages, we hope to send a token of peace, hopefulness and support to those in need,” she said.
So far about 20 other students have joined them, gathering monthly to create paper cranes that bear a handwritten message of hope. One purple crane’s wing reads, “We love you!” while an orange one promises, “You are not alone.”
“By gifting origami cranes with positive, uplifting messages, we hope to send a token of peace, hopefulness and support to those in need.”
Hospice of the Chesapeake’s Volunteer Services team was honored when the students reached out to form a partnership. So far about 100 cranes have traveled with volunteers to patients in their homes as well those who are in the hospice’s inpatient care centers. Integrative Arts Manager Alena Dailey said her not-for-profit organization hopes to add residents of local assisted living centers to the recipient list.
“This one tiny gesture of kindness can mean so much,” Dailey said. “Especially for those who have few visitors.”
Both Jarvis and Kim have a history of volunteering. Jarvis and her father find different ways to volunteer, including for a hospice. Kim volunteers with Maryland Therapeutic Riding. Jarvis said, “We were drawn to this volunteer project due to our belief in the power of small gestures bringing comfort and joy during challenging times.”
One purple crane’s wing reads, “We love you!” while an orange one promises, “You are not alone.”
Kim said she hopes that by the time she and Jarvis graduate in 2025 the club will be going strong. With a sophomore and a freshman selected for the treasurer and secretary, she is optimistic it will continue.
In the meantime, they are working to recruit more members. Besides camaraderie, the students can earn an hour towards their community service volunteering requirements for every 30 cranes they fold. Most of all, Jarvis said it brings them joy knowing there is power in the simple act of folding a paper crane. It can brighten someone’s day, offer a sense of connection and provide comfort at a difficult time in their life.