Kirtland CDC children spread smiles, support in the community

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Ireland Summers
  • 377 Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Throughout the month of April, the Gibson Child Development Center on Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, began a project to show appreciation for the Albuquerque community and its essential workers. 

Amid the crisis of COVID-19, CDC employees found creative ways to thank those who can’t work from home while including the children in fun arts and crafts. About 40 children and five employees were involved in bringing this project to life.

“This project was one way our staff and children could contribute and help spread smiles on faces for those who needed it,” said Julia Bandy, 377th Force Support Squadron CDC assistant director. “We appreciate all the hard work our essential workers are doing out there and we wanted to show that appreciation.”

The children helped by making pictures, thank you cards and books for healthcare workers at the University of New Mexico Hospital, said Bandy. 

The kids also made paper rings for zoo animals at the Albuquerque Biological Park to play with and posters for the zookeepers to hang up with peanut butter on the back for the animals to find around the enclosure as enrichment.

“The children were excited about making items that would be displayed at the zoo and in the hospital,” said Teresa Davies, 377th FSS CDC director.

This project taught the children about service to the community, said Davies. Since many of the children have parents that work in that community, it was a creative distraction for the kids while teaching them to serve. 

Not only was this project a chance to interact with the community, through social distancing, and show them Kirtland’s support, but it showed the CDC children how they can make a difference.

“Projects like these, no matter how small, can make an amazing, positive impact,” said Bandy. “It sparked fun, creativity, and important conversations that our children need on a daily basis. The children learned the importance of community helpers and how they could do something to say thank you.” 

The CDC staff will continue to involve the children in the making of more projects to send to the zoo again and to make appreciation cards for medical personnel at more hospitals this summer.