Kindergarten class supports wounded veterans with homemade ‘quilt of valor’

The quilt was presented to the UCLA Health Operation Mend program

These kindergarteners traced their hands and filled them with hearts and flags to create a homemade Quilt of Valor. The quilt was donated to the UCLA Health Operation Mend program.

A kindergarten class from the Berkeley Hall School in Los Angeles presented a homemade "quilt of valor" to UCLA Health Operation Mend, a program that provides health services for wounded post 9/11 service members.

Quilts of valor are given to injured military service members to provide warmth and comfort.

The quilt consisted of 24 squares to look like a flag of the United States. Each kindergartener’s hand was traced in the fabric square and they decorated their hand with a symbol that was meaningful to them, such as a heart or an American flag. Embroidered along the border was the sentiment, “made for you with love.”

Berkeley Hall’s kindergarten class has made a quilt for Operation Mend every year since 2012.

“I wanted the students to be grateful to what the soldiers do for us to keep our country free and keep us safe,” said Barbara DeNisi, the kindergarten teacher who started the annual quilting project. “So we made one, and it was a doable project for us so we kept making them.”

The quilt will be presented to an Operation Mend patient before he or she undergoes surgery at UCLA.

“To know that a kindergarten class made the quilt is amazing,” said Erik Matsumura, a patient navigator for Operation Mend and a U.S. Marine veteran. “They will feel the power of our youth and it is incredible how much that can help heal.”

Since 2007, UCLA Operation Mend has provided advanced surgical and medical treatment, as well as comprehensive psychological support for veterans and their families. In 2016, the program expanded to offer an intensive, six-week outpatient treatment program for post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury  as part of a first-of-its-kind partnership between Wounded Warrior Project and three other academic medical centers in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. All medical care, travel and accommodations are provided at no cost to Operation Mend participants and their families.

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