HUDSON — Groups of eighth-grade students students sat at individual tables in the Hudson Media School Center, studying a prosthetic hand created with a 3D printer. They carefully worked thin lengths of thread through the fingers to make the prosthetic operational.
These students are participating in Hands of Gratitude, part of a service learning class. Hands of Gratitude, operated by Corporate Motivation Inc., sends these prosthetic hands worldwide to those who need one.
Matt Campana, who started Corporate Motivation, said he provides activities and give back opportunities to businesses, groups and schools.
“I wanted to do a medical activity,” Campana said. “One day, I found a YouTube video on a 3D printed hand, and thought ‘that would be a really cool activity.’”
The students interviewed seemed to agree that this was, indeed, “a really cool activity.”
“I think it’s really inspiring,” said Rylyn Dearstien, 13. “You don’t think this is something you can do, making hand prosthetics, on a 3D printer you couldn’t even make three years ago. It’s really cool we can do this in school.”
Calvin Orley, 13, said he liked building the prosthetic “and helping children out.”
“We’re helping them with things they couldn’t do,” Calvin said. “Now they will once they get this hand.”
Campana said the service classes at the middle school will interact with La Ceiba, a school in Honduras, which will help distribute the hands.
Christina Wooley, the curriculum coordinator for the district, said in addition to the preprinted hands, the students will design and print out one hand for a 5-year-old boy, Fabian, in Honduras.
Wooley said she would like to see this program continue.
“I wrote several grants to start this,” Wooley said. “But you can’t go back to the same grantors.”
Several entities gave the school grants, most notably the Hudson Public Schools Endowment Fund, which offered $6,000 for the program. Other entities includes Rotary of Hudson, which gave $1,000; Asian Sun, which gave $1,000; and Ohio Middle Level Association, which gave $500.
Wooley said the program may offer kits for families to assemble as a family project, with proceeds from the sale going to support the project.
Campana said they may funnel proceeds generated from businesses who participate back to the school’s efforts.
Beth Hohenfeld, the service class teacher for the eighth-grade students, said she “was already really impressed with what they could do in such a short time.”
The week included a kickoff for Hands of Gratitude on Aug. 28, with instruction on putting together the hands the next two days. On Aug. 31, they were scheduled to put together the bags and the cards, as well as make a video.
“This will motivate kids even more,” Hohenfeld said of the activity. “I’m excited to see what projects the kids will come up with next, using what they learned from this.”
Several students already done other community service.
Emma Boicey, 13, said she liked participating in activities “that will put a smile on someone’s face.”
“Two years ago, when I was in Girl Scouts, we made a little library in front of the [middle] school,” Emma said. “When we were asked about our favorite part, most of us said imagining the happy faces of those who could take a book, or leave a book. This gives people greater access to books.”
Ellie Forrest, 13, said that she and her friend Melissa Hansen worked together on a service program to promote healthy living.
“We did a presentation for the fourth through seventh grade classes,” Ellie said. “We talked about why it was good to eat healthy, we had visuals set up and we gave them a challenged and encouraged them to set goals. We also donated 50 care packages to Haven of Rest.”
Forrest said she wanted to pursue this topic again, although she also was looking for ways “to step out of her comfort zone.”
“It was really fun,” she said of last year’s service class project. “Find a passion, and you can really make an impact, and it’s so much fun.”
For information on Corporate Motivation Inc., visit https://www.facebook.com/CorporateMotivationInc or https://www.hands-of-gratitude.com online.
Reporter April Helms can be reached at 330-541-9423, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @AprilKHelms_RPC