Fifth-grade students from Manhattan Beach’s P.S. 95 (131 Irwin Street) today donated a dozen framed watercolor works they painted to Coney Island Hospital (2601 Ocean Parkway), and they will soon hang in patient areas to help lift patients’ spirits.
The works were produced by the students in Mr. William Lawson’s art class as part of a project called “The Art of Giving,” an annual program coordinated by the United Federation of Teachers to connect elementary school art classes with local hospitals.
The Art of Giving, now in its fifth year, was inspired by the late Sharon Coates, a teacher at P.S. 156.While Coates was hospitalized, she was presented with student art.
“Seeing the children’s artwork on the walls lifted my spirits,” Coates later said, according to UFT Vice President for Elementary Schools Karen Alford, who was Coates’ union representative at the time. Alford later launched the program and continues to oversee it.
While at the hospital for the unveiling ceremony today, the students were treated to cookies and juice – as well as showered with gratitude from hospital staff including Associate Executive Director Robert Cooper and Chief Nurse Terry Mancher.
Mancher in particular was rigorously interrogated by the students, some of whom said they’d like to be doctors or nurses. She told them of the tremendously rewarding experiences she’s had, explained the difference between medical school and nursing school and clarified that, no, doctors are not bosses to the nurses.
She also talked about the vital role Coney Island Hospital nurses played during Superstorm Sandy, when much of the staff stayed on-site even as power in the facility failed, and how they assisted in the evacuation after the storm.