Kayla Harte's projects brighten the lives of hospitalized kids.

Kayla Harte's projects brighten the lives of hospitalized kids. Credit: The Harte family

A Stony Brook student with a passion for community service has been improving the hospital experience for local children.

Kayla Harte, a second-grader at W.S. Mount Elementary School, was recently awarded a Disney Summer of Service grant — valued at $500 — through Youth Service of America, which offers youngsters the opportunity to turn creative ideas into projects that will positively impact their communities. She was among 340 pupils nationwide to receive the grant.

The funds will benefit Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, which plans to purchase character-themed bandages and musical light-up toys for its young patients. After learning of the hospital’s plans, Kayla launched her own drive to collect 200 boxes of Band-Aids and 40 toys on her own.

“The people who are at the Stony Brook Hospital are friends who are sick,” Kayla, 7, said. “We want to make them feel better.”

In addition to the drive, Kayla is planning to help sponsor several birthday parties and special events for children in the hospital’s pediatric oncology department by providing themed decorations and other items. So far, she has sponsored two parties, including one for Valentine’s Day.

Before obtaining the grant, Kayla had already spent two years tackling various community service projects for the hospital, such as creating birthday and get-well cards and assembling craft and bracelet kits for the sick children there.

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