By Julie Matuszewski; photos courtesy of Paul Brannberg and Lisa Hutchinson
By nature, human beings are social. Relationships with others help individuals survive and thrive. Staying socially connected can increase longevity, improve immune function and cardiac health. While physical distancing is still important during COVID-19, maintaining social connections is just as important. Grateful for their distant loved ones, the lower elementary students of DCS Montessori (DCSM) practiced gratitude with open arms and mailed “hugs” to those they were missing.
Many of DCSM lower elementary teacher Paul Brannberg’s students have not been able to see grandparents and other loved ones who live far away during the past year. Brannberg thought creating and mailing “hugs” would mean a great deal to families, distant loved ones and students.
Student and local Castle Pines resident Jimmy Freeman sent a heartfelt hug to his distant grandparents. Touched by the gesture, DCSM received a message from the hug recipients.
Freeman’s grandparents wrote, “We are thrilled to have such a beautiful letter and hands to wrap around us during this difficult time. We have been unable to see our grandchildren since December 2019, and as soon as we are both vaccinated, we are planning a visit!”
Fifty-two hands were traced, and 26 hugs were created for grandparents, aunts and uncles, an old classmate and a babysitter. While the students had fun creating their mailable hug, it was also a way to practice letter writing and addressing.