Area teens are invited to make "a heart for a heart" by coming out to the Galloway Township branch of the Atlantic County Library System tonight to create special pillows for hospital patients.

The hand-sewn, heart-shaped pillows will be donated to an area cardiac center for post-op heart surgery patients to make them more comfortable after their procedures.

"Making these pillows is a nice way to show they care," said Youth Services Librarian Rebecca "Becky" Leopold, who coordinates events for the library's Teen Scene program.

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And since February is traditionally the month associated with hearts, the project theme is appropriate.

The Teen Scene, which is the name of the library program designed for area residents aged 11 to 17, offers two activities per month where students can meet and have fun.

There is a teen group that meets once per month, and anyone can join.

"Right now we have a group of about 20 who meet on a regular basis and help come up with ideas of things to do," said Leopold, 28, who has been at the branch library for about two years.

The heart pillow idea came from a brainstorming session during one of these gatherings, Leopold said.

"One of the teens said she once made bookmarkers to donate to a hospital and the idea just evolved from that," she said. "Everybody was in favor."

The teens learned that a small, firm pillow can be an essential aid for recuperative cardiac care, as cardiac patients are encouraged to hold pillows against the sternum while moving, coughing or even while walking around.

Although many hospitals actually provide a heart shaped pillow to patients, donations are always welcome for groups who want to do community-service projects.

The library will have enough supplies for about 15 participants to make pillows. There will be patterns for several different sizes, ranging from 6 inches to about 12 inches.

And don't worry if you're not that handy with a needle and thread, Leopold said. The quick and easy project will be broken into several parts, so anybody can participate regardless of sewing experience.

The library will supply all the materials needed, and participants can get as creative as they want using a variety of fabrics in different prints and colors.

And after all the sewing, comes dessert.

The second half of the program will be devoted to decorating, and, of course, eating cupcakes. There will be a variety of Valentine-themed treats on hand so participants can indulge as much as they want.

Frosting, sprinkles, candies and icings will all be provided to decorate with, Leopold said.

The fourth Wednesday of each month is devoted to Teen Scene, where students can gather and play computer games or do projects. Other events planned include Game Night on Feb. 26, and a Teen Tech Week Craft on March 12.

Participation in all the events is free and open to any teen.

Contact Lucia C. Drake:


If you go

What: Hearts and Cupcakes

Where: Galloway Branch, Atlantic County Library System, 306 E. Jimmie Leeds Road

When: 6 to 7:45 p.m., Feb. 12

Cost: Free

More info: Register today by calling 609-652-2352 or see and access the branch newsletter

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