Brooklyn Bartling has loved drawing for a long time, but recently, the 9-year-old Olathe girl decided to make something bigger than a picture destined for the front of the fridge.
She wanted to give her drawings to someone who might enjoy them, and that’s where Children’s Mercy South Hospital comes into the picture. This holiday season, she gave the 50-bed hospital 180 cards she drew herself to cheer up the children who were not well enough to go home for the holidays.
“With the holidays coming up, you wouldn’t want to be in the hospital when you could be spending time with your family,” Brooklyn said. “A lot of people just give money to the hospital, but I wanted to do something different.”
The cards are going to children who are in-patients at the hospital and children who visit the hospital’s clinics as out-patients.
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It’s not the first time Brooklyn has done this, either. She calls her project Cards for Kids.
“I did a lot of it in the summertime, because I had nothing else … to do,” Brooklyn said. “I like art. That’s one of my favorite subjects.”
When she’s not doing her fourth-grade homework, she spends time at her grandma’s house drawing. She said she learned her drawing techniques from watching tutorials on YouTube.
Her grandma, Melinda Bartling, estimates that they’ve made seven or eight trips to the hospital in the last year to deliver cheerful cards. The majority of the cards she makes are “feel better” cards, Brooklyn said.
Brooklyn said she likes to make her cards themed around the time of the year. She has a variety of figures she likes to draw on the cards, from Patrick of SpongeBob SquarePants to singer Ariana Grande to lots of puppies.
“I think she tries to do things kids are going to relate to,” Bartling said.
Brooklyn said she tries to put the same amount of effort into each card so that one child won’t get a better drawing than another.
In the past, she’s preferred to draw all the cards herself, but looking forward, she’d like to get her school, Liberty View Elementary, involved in a future card-making project.
“If every kid in our school could bring a card saying, ‘Get well,’ ” they’d have hundreds more to give away to kids in the hospital, Brooklyn said.
Involving other kids is exactly what Melinda Bartling would like to see Brooklyn do.
“I’d like to see this grow,” she said. “Brooklyn’s only capable of making so many herself.”
For now, Brooklyn’s already starting to think about what cards she might make for Valentine’s Day.
Beth Lipoff: firstname.lastname@example.org